BOLIVIA (AP) China’s lithium-sulfur mining industry is worth up to $1 billion, and its structure could make it worth up a staggering $1 trillion, a leading economist says.
Bolivia’s top geologist, Jose Paez-Vila, who was part of a team that analyzed the structure of the lithium-bearing deposits in the country’s South Andes, said the country could be home to up to 1,200 megawatts of lithium.
It’s one of the biggest lithium-producing areas in South America, and Paez has predicted that by 2020, lithium could be producing in the South American country more than 1,000 megawatts, enough to power about 2 million homes.
The South Andean country is home to a range of large deposits of lithium and lithium-rich ores that are mined in a number of locations.
Lithium is mined by extracting lithium-polymer from ores and refining it to make batteries, which are used in smartphones, laptops, power generators, energy storage and other products.
Paez-Vaiz is a professor at the University of the Andes and is widely recognized as a leader in lithium-production research.
He’s been a leading expert on lithium-based ores, particularly the deposits in Bolivia’s Central Andes.
Lithium is a common element in the world’s supply chain, but it’s also known for its toxic side effects, including kidney damage and cancer.
Paez said in a statement that the lithium industry is likely to contribute about $300 billion to Bolivia’s economy.