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tv   Lithium  Deutsche Welle  May 27, 2022 7:30pm-8:01pm CEST

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a little tension threatening, a fragile ecosystem, the mining region is rife with controversy. next on d w. how about taking a few race? you could even take a chance on the la rearing to. ah, don't expect to happy ending literature list 100 german. ah, ah, there's a new gold rush in the andes mountains. mining companies are trying to tap into huge reserves of lithium, known as white gold bankers and at the incoming argentina wants to attract $5000000000.00. and investment is not only for lithium mining,
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but also for electron mobility programs. i said, i'm really elected germany is moving ahead with his technology as well. and we'll need a lot of lithium to power those electric cars. those would have had 1000 people years . but the pursuit of white gold can also have serious political consequences. if you were gonna lithium, brought down bolivians, government told, eligible again. but can the lithium be extracted without damaging the local environment? some experts are skeptical and question the need for large scale mining projects. when f a media does a family in europe really need to e car is in a 3 computer, a scope without us. how will the mining of lithium affect the local residence and what impact will it have on the region sensitive ecosystem?
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we double with doctor warbler. it's not about a share of the profits keys will do almost it's about our future and the future of our children with that you're in this. ah i this is the large. so lar day will you nissan slat near the crest of the andes in south western bolivia. beneath its crust lies the world's single largest deposit of lithium. mm. pancillo. why this is the mayor of the nearby community of rio grande. while us supports lithium mining, because he believes that it will generate profits for every one mrs. thomas, case,
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all of the communities near the salt plaza and all of bolivia will benefit from the extraction of lithium here. good, the liberal examiner should been if you ship about 2000 people live in rio grande. the local economy is doing well thanks to income from the extraction of sodium, boar, 8 or borax. while us hopes that if lithium mining operations expand as planned, there will be even more money for the local residence. there are huge deposits under the crust of the soul plus a pilot planned for extracting the white gold has already been built. for libby as government wants to benefit from the increased demand for lithium, as more and more western countries develop electric vehicles, bolivian officials want to do more than simply export lithium. they also plan to
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develop processing plants and battery production facilities, which will create lots of new jobs. by the philadelphia, centuries ago, bolivian silver was simply sent to europe. now we want to use this natural resource to improve our lives as the visa in 2018 able morales olivia's president at the time agreed to a joint venture with the german company, a c. i. systems are manya, a c, i a s promise to help a bolivian state company extract the lithium. it would also build a processing plant and a factory for making lithium batteries. it seems to be a win win situation for both sides. a c, i a s predicted a bright future development towers and you liked it, and we will create a 1000 jobs directly and 10000 in direct jobs. so that's before including those of the battery production for so, so in,
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but even the german auto industry will need huge supplies of lithium as it makes the transition to battery powered vehicles. so will car makers in other western countries and that's good news for bolivia, argentina, and she lake, which have huge reserves of white gulped with mayor while us supports the agreement in principle, but only if it benefits the local residence. this is almost getting us broken modem of the rug. the people are entitled to a share of the profits embassy in because lithium extraction will have a huge impact on the people up. rio grande gifts look, go many others. you run the allusion to the clinton, i address for fewer, but there is more at stake here than just financial compensation. local leaders also demand that they have a say in the development of these projects. but because most as it seems of our
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logistics cooperative can help in the extraction of lithium, what on what are 1st day and we have the equipment that will be needed for this project. transport including trucks or to bent though the aggregate us he al, give them a key not but in 2019 president morales put the joint venture on hold. in the wake of public protests in rio grande doesn't civil trucks were purchased in anticipation of coming industrialization. loss almost as brazil, we used these trucks to dig the basis where ra lithium will be stored or better for me, but right now they're just standing around my production book, decrement. there's hardly any opposition here to the joint venture. most local residents think the germans are the right partners for the project, including local politician tay adora ali. the opposition comes from other parts of bolivia where a lot of people think it's a bad idea. look at connected
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a should. well, as a reminder, the germans can still save the project as well, but a lot of people were upset about the terms of the agreement. mid month. i mean, one it is that i think the germans should take part in them in the deltona, but in other places some citizens committees are a postal. and they've got people riled up this bad that are lacking in 2019, there were widespread demonstrations against the proposed joint venture. wow. and in october, people took to the streets to protest alleged fraud in the recent general election . during this chaos moran has canceled the agreement with germany.
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now since then, lithium mining in bolivia has been suspended. even those who live near the salt flats now have their doubts about the joint venture agreement. one of them is luis much aka a member of a citizens committee as well as it broke out that the germans wanting to extract our lithium with a 70 year contract. and now i'm pretty sure they wanted to be a good partner. what didn't have the financial resources or the technology ample, got they hello, here in bolivia, lithium mining has become a serious political issue. it's still not clear whether a foreign company will be brought in to get the extraction project moving again. in any case, lithium lining consumes huge amounts of water layer. while us is worried that the local wells may dry up dis, a ball skeleton. let the we need to find alternative ways to provide water for
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lithium production. so if they just tap into our reservoir home, it will ruin our children's future will permit them for doodle that mercy the mayor says that environmental concerns like this are important as bolivia decides which foreign company will take part in the project. that will uni salt flats, holds the world's largest reserve of lithium, which will be used in the batteries of the new generation of electric vehicles. large deposits of lithium are also found in the neighboring countries of g lake and argentina. this is the so called lithium triangle, which is home to nearly 60 percent of the world's supply of white gold. much of the world's lithium is found in brine reservoirs that lie just below the
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surface of the desert areas of the andes region. these include chillies at the comma desert. this area is considered the world's driest with an average annual rainfall of just 15 millimeters. the salt flats are all that's left of sailing lakes that developed millions of years ago. surface water is scarce here, and it is vital for the survival of wildlife like these flamingoes. ah, ah, that she lay in company s q m has been mining lithium for 25 years at a facility on the outer commerce old flat. s q m is the world's number 2, producer of lithium workers, pump brine to the surface from a depth of 40 meters. the bry been placed in basins where the liquid evaporates
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over several months, leaving behind lithium slag. this process uses a lot of water pipelines run across the desert floor to supply the mining facility . when you log on to the water comes from wells that tap into the ground water. but a local resident christian to rocco is opposed to mining operations here because they're depleting the reservoirs on it. then when the latter done, they seem to sick of this mining operation has been set up on land for that belongs to the indigenous peoples. if not to widia, she got their young damage. okay. and the company is using up our underground water supply a whole 15 2nd though low enough to rocco says that some rivers in this region are running low, others have dried off altogether. he blames this situation on climate change
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and on water intensive mining operations to wilco lives in the village of took a now located on the edge of the salt flat, about 700 people live here. christiane works as a surveyor and also farms. a small plot of land like his father and grandfather did . christian's father says that large scale, lithium mining is mostly responsible for the drop in the local water supply of him was that i can't as if we were girls. that were a lot of people have moved away because there's not enough water to with double should i was, oh, what are you and i go if you don't have water, you can't grow crock lisa. so a lot of people have left and we really have of this situation has been confirmed by christina dora door, a biologist who has studied the environmental impact of mining operations at best
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that meant there are so many mahunis, i believe that the lord will satellite images taken over the last 20 years, indicate that the soil has lost moisture ankle as soon as the ground temperature is rising. and there's been a decrease in the amount of vegetation. these changes are the direct result of the expansion of lithium, meaning that next young the sun might, i believe, you know, this is a serious threat to the areas fragile ecosystem. it affects the micro organisms in the lagoons and the flamingos that consume them. okay, good to go in the low sir larry, this is an example of what we call a local climate change as if he wasn't as more water and brian is pumped out of the ground. the water level in the lagoons dropped yet. i wait a minute. this raises the water temperature, which leads to evaporation. yes, las vegas up on the bottom line is that it accelerates the loss of water from the salt lake city, iowa buffalo. we weren't allowed to film at the eskew in mind because of coven
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restrictions, but company vice president, pablo altamira, says that the company has reduced water consumption in recent years and will continue to do so. minnesota, anyone went to seek dimmer. we monitor water extraction at more than $250.00 locations. humble me in the, in the we also monitor the water level of the ground level and we make all of this data public. yes. if one was, it was a bully. but christy and her uncle has doubts about the company's operations if it were me, if we're lucky you, there were the others in the ending so far. and when i asked q m has not bothered to take the concerns of the local residents. and seriously the faithful and we're upset about that. that won't be a geeky, they take the lithium out of the ground, get and then sell it. and europe as a clean product in that l. e. o. u and openness hit the but as far as i'm concerned
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in it, that's a lie less your in the there when m e or is a min theda the boom in lithium production will likely create even more water shortages. and that's a serious cause for concern. flatbed so now we, i know callahan, people who live near the salt lake, have filed several lawsuit against the mining companies and claiming that they used more water than was allowed to take them. and she lays the only country in the world where the water supply is owned by private companies. if things continue like this, the salt lake will dry up in 10 to 20 years past the hour, the on even a select my s q m says it does use environmentally friendly technology. so the name of you could say, but have we proceed a legally say i am, our company needs to expand to produce more lithia, but that production has to be sustainable. but i think that the concept of electron
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mobility is based on sustainability boulevard. not all of them. so we are committed to using production methods that are sustainable. vanessa when i say that i could, if somebody are sure, ah, a few kilometers away across the border in argentina and increase in lithium mining could also create water shortages. ah, for years the local indigenous people have made their living by mining song. ah, ah, most of those who make their living from tourism and mining salt, believe that lithium production poses a real threat. dia felt like if i don't want them to start an elite, you can, it'll scare away all of the tours in northern it to the one of the leaders
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of the local anti lithium protest is clemente flores, like many people in chile, he's concerned that the water supply may be running low. lemme, and most of the day for me, me and the key is how much water the companies will use me. they say one thing on their website, but that's usually less than the amount that they actually you bought out in this lithium plant is owned by an australian japanese company. nearly 40 similar projects are in the planning stages. argentine, as government says, it will expand lithium production in the coming years. there will probably not be any controls, just like in chile lucas ease or the man the others in the us. we filed complaints and have held demonstrations to try to slow the expansion. but any of
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that, i mean that the government has already issued permits for several projects, but no one is giving us any specific style. because i thought going into national agreement state that we have to be consulted in advance and mesa was with the for years. the indigenous people of who a province have been trying to stop the government from issuing lithium production licenses to foreign corporations. but the authorities are planning projects with companies from japan, china and canada. supporters say environmental damage will be kept to a minimum any more in england down as it boils. numerous scientific studies have shown that lithium mining does not threaten the water supplies of small farmers with the salt lake has its own water system in the when we pump brian, there. it does not affect the fresh water reservoirs of the farming communities eloquently about one idea. argentina's government hopes that lithium production
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will help boost the country's ailing economy. battery production facilities are already on the drawing board and argentina plans to build more electric vehicles for the domestic market visit lamb butterfield it, we're convinced that expanding lithium production will help us to successfully deal with the challenges of the future i in china and europe. 20 percent of all vehicles are electric. meanwhile, argentina is way behind and not an exit. the m w is already a player in argentina's lithium market. the company predicts that 50 percent of all the cars it builds in 2030 will be electric. so they'll need a lot of lithium and have invested millions in argentina. b, m w says it will make sure that the lithium is mind responsibly. i didn't so sondra
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and kind that isn't smid to load. i can see. i think the process that we use does not introduce any solvents or chemicals into the environment. we're doing that. indian, most of the brian that we extract is returned to its sourcing. that's enough to the office fossil for this reduces water consumption substantially compared to other methods item items up since april. oh, production is planned to start in 2022, but local residents and many scientists doubt whether lithium can be mined in such an environmentally friendly way. way. kennedy, they've been cycling saladas. a lot of engineers believe that a salt lake is kind of like a swimming pool. however, you simply pump out the brine filter out the lithium and then pump the liquid back to the source. but this ecosystem has a fragile biological and chemical balance, and mining can ruin it. guess it better. they require less up more so far. flores and his neighbors have been fighting a losing battle. a number of big companies will soon start mining lithium here. but
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the protests will continue. flores has 7 children and 7 grand children. over the next 50 years, they may decide to leave the country. many to lions already have. flores often discusses this problem with his mother. and brother derek, owner of the earth, is like a mother to us. and even though that we have to respect her and protect her ink, and although you know, she gives us life and she also protects arts damage. ah, 4 generations of the forest family live under one roof. they raise mama's, and we've textiles. from the wool flores complains that traditional life and the region is disappearing. many of the
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local young people have gone off to work for the mining companies and those jobs pay. well. we return to bolivia. the government says it plans to produce 40 percent of the global demand for lithium by 2030 and that's a pretty ambitious goal. but to do that, they'll need foreign partners. the final decision will be up to the ministers in the bolivian capital, la pas economist jani. romero helped to negotiate the original deal with german company ac i. systems liberalism, olivia lost all about ali manya, but i called bolivia, must regain investors trust the court after the government cancelled the ac. i contract, i believe the anointed, but some companies have benefited from that. situation was compet and now they
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don't want the germans to get back to the game and up within the still the subset of every year. the competitors include chinese and u. s. corporations tesla founder, ellen musk is also said to be interested in tapping into believe he is left young reserves driving. the government has not yet made a final decision. oh, after months of political chaos, bolivians elected a new president in october 2020 luis. our son is a former economics minister and was the preferred candidate of x president abel morales. both, i believe it was, our government will represent the interests of all bolivians, and we will restore unity in our country. are so proved,
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especially popular among indigenous voters. now he will have to decide whether to negotiate a new lithium deal with a c i a s or find another international partner knows leah. on the corner. we must do everything we can to use the latest technology and move forward quickly with lithium production. is process of the end of the previous contract with germany tomorrow would not have brought us the rapid industrial progress that we see. all of it experts say a new deal will have to clearly define the roles of the participants and specify the distribution of royalties and profits. in related, fundamental changes in the lithium production model are on the horizon. for example, producers could be ordered to do more to protect the environment
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a broad based group of july and citizens is now drafting a new constitution. in the wake of massive protests that began in 2019 biologist christine a door to door was among those elected to draft the new constitution for la, minnesota principality. i demand that the salt lake be preserved over the long term . if we continue to pursue short term economic goals, i'll destroy them yet though i am, the lithium boom may bring prosperity to the andes region. but at what price to me and get it? we open it. well, if we were to destroy our salt lakes because of lithium production, as i do that, and we'd certainly live to regret at you, but i would still many feel left out moments if i don't need lithium, i want to go on living like how do you know i thought what effect will the push towards electron mobility have on south america. pricing,
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comalla money done de la in germany. electro mobility represents the development of the clean vehicle technology either and an end to the use of fossil fuel sanity f, forcing seen in battle. but this transition cannot be made at the expense of fragile ecosystem. it equals, like our salt lake. funding for gunther been willis, aladdin. and ellen, a figure so ah ah, ah ah . with
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