Lithium Boom

Bolivia has a long and sad history of booms and busts. Its economy has been dominated by extractive industries like tin, silver, guano, nitrates, and coca – the precursor of cocaine.

This film explores the importance of lithium industry and how the country may again be at the losing end of globalization as the industrialized north reap most of the benefits and Bolivia is left to mine the primary resource. With 5.4 million tonnes of lithium, Bolivia opened its first production plant in 2013. There is little reporting on the environmental damage that comes with the extraction of the powerful mineral.

ACCESO Vision’s team, made up of Marina Shoupe, Jim Kelly and Yerko Ilijic traversed Bolivia’s southern salt flats in the Uyuni, exploring the coming changes to the landscape that will come with Chinese and other investment in the area.

Is Bolivia the new Kuwait and what will rapid economic growth do to the chronically underdeveloped country?