Protests in Chile, Bolivia threaten India’s search for assets in ‘Lithium Triangle’ – by Ajoy K Das ( – November 11, 2019)

KOLKATA ( – Civil unrest and violence in Chile and prospects of tougher security norms, together with unrelenting protests over a disputed electoral process in Bolivia, have thrown a spanner in the wheels of Indian mining companies getting a toe-hold in the so-called ‘Lithium Triangle’.

As protestors continue to hit the streets, with widespread reports of violence, snowballing into a deeper anti-government movement, India’s recent push for lithium assets in Latin America is being forced to the backburner, if not becoming unstuck completely.

The perception among Indian mining companies planning forays in search of lithium assets in Latin America is that though unrest and violence in Chile was triggered by a marginal hike in subway fares, opposition to the right-of-center neoliberal economic policy of the incumbent Chilean government is at the heart of civil movement.

In Bolivia, protests and marches have also been occurring in response to claims of electoral fraud in the 2019 general elections. The increasingly violent uprising reached a tipping point on Sunday, when the military pulled its support and President Evo Morales announced his resignation.

The unrest and protests in the Latin American countries have undermined the Indian government’s efforts to back domestic mining companies to at least formalise collaborations in Chile and Bolivia.

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