Lithium in Bolivia

Bolivia has one of the largest lithium reserves in the world. Coveted by makers of batteries for devices from laptops to electric cars, different governments and economists have understood the strategic importance and potential of the lightest mineral in the world for the country’s development. However, the reserves still are almost untouched, and the government is looking for the best way to exploit it.

To understand the importance of Lithium and its implications for Bolivia’s development, market reporter of Industrial Minerals, Martim Facada and Bolivian economist Dr María Daniela Sánchez López, will present their expert views at a mini-conference organised by the Anglo-Bolivian Society.

Thursday 5 April 2018, 18:30
Room G37, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Tickets, including refreshments: non-members £8, members £6, students (with valid ID) £5
To book, email:

Industrial Minerals: lithium market, prices and the Bolivian future

Martim Facada

Martim Facada is a lithium market reporter in charge of lithium market prices, price indexes and market intelligence at Industrial Minerals — part of the Metal Bulletin Group. Martim works closely with key stakeholders in the lithium industry to weekly monitor the latest prices, identify key risks, market trends and the developments in the industry. He is currently responsible for the creation of several new lithium prices to better represent the market. Martim has just returned from a fact-finding visit to Bolivia, which holds one of the largest reserves of lithium in the world.

Prior to joining Industrial Metals, Martim Facada worked for Asian Metal as an International Metal Market Analyst, a consultancy specialising in political risk and market research in the EMEA and the American metal markets. He was also an Independent Researcher with a London School of Economics team developing: “A critical evaluation of social impact assessment methodologies and a call to measure economic and social impact holistically through the External Rate of Return platform”. Martim holds an MA in International Political Economy from King’s College London, and a degree in Political Science & International Relations from the Complutense de Madrid.

From white desert to strategic resource: commodification of the Uyuni salt flat in Bolivia

Daniela Sánchez López

The Uyuni salt flat (Salar de Uyuni) located in the Bolivian high plateau, is the largest salt flat on earth and a natural wonder. This landscape -once known as the white desert- nowadays has become a strategic space and a fiscal reserve for an ambitious and unprecedented state-owned mining project for extracting and industrializing lithium carbonate. In this presentation, Daniela Sánchez seeks to examine under what conditions the Uyuni salt flat has been commodified over the past 40 years (both under neoliberal and post-neoliberal regimes), the discursive elements behind this transformation and the cultural impacts on the communities surrounding the salt flat.

Dr María Daniela Sánchez López is a Bolivian economist with an interdisciplinary background in political science, international development and human geography. Her PhD dissertation at the University of East Anglia provided a novel case study in the field of political ecology by exploring the economic, political and social elements shaping resource governance of lithium in Bolivia.

With nearly a decade of experience in academic and public policy research, she has worked in international organizations like the United Nations, has a regional specialism in Latin America and expertise on governance of lithium, energy markets and socio-environmental conflicts.

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