Last year, when former Bolivian president Evo Morales was forced to resign, it was unclear whether the socialist leader’s dream of transforming his country into a powerhouse lithium producer would survive. Last month, the world got its answer when Bolivians overwhelmingly voted to elect Luis Arce, the candidate representing the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party and Morales’ handpicked successor.
The lithium dream is not dead. In fact, it’s bigger than ever. But whether Arce’s administration can succeed in developing Bolivia’s lithium riches — and do so in a way that benefits Bolivian workers and frontline communities — remains uncertain.
Found in electric vehicle (EV) batteries and batteries that store energy generated by solar panels and wind turbines, lithium is one of the key resources driving the global clean energy transition. Bolivia has more of it than any other country, but the nation has long struggled to produce lithium commercially. Arce, like Morales before him, wants to change that. In a strategy document released on the campaign trail, the new president called for massively ramping up Bolivia’s lithium production capacity in order to supply 40 per... Read more