Bolivia to invest in billion-dollar lithium deal with ACI Systems

FILE PHOTO - Deposits of lithium brine are seen at the lithium pilot plant of Llipi at the Uyuni salt lake in the Potosi Department, Bolivia, November 29, 2017. Picture taken in November 29, 2017. REUTERS/David Mercado

LA PAZ (Reuters) - Bolivia will manufacture and market lithium batteries along with German company ACI Systems GmbH, which will invest $1.3 billion in the project, the country’s manager of the lithium deposits told the Bolivian state radio on Saturday.

Along with Argentina and Chile, Bolivia is part of South America’s so-called “lithium triangle,” one of the largest global reservoirs of the key mineral for the production of car batteries.

“The German company ACI Systems has been selected as the strategic partner,” Juan Carlos Montenegro, head of state-owned company Bolivian Lithium Deposits, or YLB by its Spanish initials, told Patria Nueva radio.

He said the joint venture deal will be inked as soon as possible so that operations can begin in about 18 months.

Bolivia has almost a quarter of the world’s lithium resources.

Reporting by Daniel Ramos; Editing by Chris Reese