Explainer: Latin America’s Lithium Triangle – by Elizabeth Gonzalez (AS/COA.org – February 17, 2021)


The insatiable demand for the latest smartphone, along with a need to transition to clean energy, keeps driving demand for the lightest of metals.

Lithium, with its high electrical conductivity, is key to many rechargeable devices, such as cellphones, laptops, and energy storage systems, not to mention electrical vehicles, for which global sales are expected to rise 70 percent in 2021. All in all, the global lithium market is projected to quintuple over the next 35 years.

That bodes well for the countries of the Lithium Triangle—Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile—where 58 percent of the world’s identified lithium resources lies, per January 2021 data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

The South American region’s abundance is partly due to the vast salt flats, or salares, where the metal is extracted from brine pools through an evaporation process facilitated by the arid, sunny climate.

Resources, however, do not necessarily translate to accessible reserves or production capacity, which require technology, investment, and a favorable regulatory framework to harness the power and potential of this so-called “white gold.”

For the rest of this article: https://www.as-coa.org/articles/explainer-latin-americas-lithium-triangle