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Japan 'best suited' partner for lithium development: Bolivia

by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Dec 8, 2010
Bolivian President Evo Morales said Wednesday during a two-day visit to Japan the Asian economic giant is the "best suited" partner for the development of his country's huge lithium reserves.

"My biggest dream is to see Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, which are running around the world, use lithium batteries made in Bolivia," Morales told a news conference.

"Bolivia wants to contribute to efforts against global warming by forming an alliance with countries like Japan which have developed green cars such as hybrid and electric vehicles," Morales said through an interpreter.

Lithium is widely used in rechargeable batteries for laptops, mobile phones and electric cars -- and an estimated 70 percent of the world's known lithium reserves are in Bolivia.

"Japan is an economic power," he said. "I think it is the best suited partner" of Bolivia for developing lithium, he said without elaborating.

Earlier in the day, Japanese trade and industry minister Akihiro Ohata held talks with Morales and expressed his "strong hope" that the Latin American country would offer a stable supply of lithium to Tokyo, Kyodo News reported.

Last month, Bolivia and Japan signed an agreement to help the Andean nation conduct research that will lead to the industrialisation of its lithium wealth.

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