Iran to help Bolivia's lithium industry
Iranian Minister of Industries and Mines Ali-Akbar Mehrabian says Iran will help Bolivia industrialize its lithium mines and produce lithium batteries, Press TV reported.
Mehrabian said that the cooperation will be based on agreements signed between the two countries during the recent visit of Bolivian President Evo Morales to Tehran.
Iran will render technical and engineering assistance for the projects and will also cooperate with Bolivia in producing other lithium products, IRNA quoted Mehrabian as saying on Sunday.
During the Bolivian president's visit, Tehran and La Paz inked five memoranda of understating following talks in the Iranian capital.
Last year, Iran signed a deal with Bolivia to help the Andean nation conduct research on the exploitation of lithium in the Salar de Uyuni desert.
Iranian experts, Brazil's Ministry of Science, and researchers from companies such as France's Eramet SA and Bollore SA conducted a joint study on Bolivia's lithium reserves.
Bolivia possesses about 70 percent of the world's lithium and should thus be able to supply the international market for the next 500 years and reduce the world's reliance on dwindling fossil fuels, experts say.
Lithium has wide applications in the production of rechargeable batteries in cell phones, laptops, and electric cars. Lithium can also be compounded with aluminum for use in the production of light bodies for airplanes and cars.
The Bolivian government plans to eventually produce 30,000 tons of lithium per annum.
Iran is one of Bolivia's main partners in the area of lithium production and has inked a number of agreements on the exploitation of the country's lithium mines.