German group in US$2 billion lithium agreement with Bolivian state

  • Germany
  • 01/30/2019
  • Latin Lawyer

A senior partner at Moreno Baldivieso Estudio de Abogados says more public-private tie-ups in Bolivia are likely as his firm helps German construction company ACI Systems secure the first partnership of its kind in the Andean country.
Germany’s Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein is also thought to have advised ACI Systems, but this could not be confirmed prior to publication.

The partnership will see Bolivian state enterprise Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos work with ACI Systems to extract lithium from Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, located in the Bolivian Andes.

Besides extracting lithium, the partnership will also manufacture battery systems using the raw material. The project is expected to create around 1,000 jobs directly, and up to 10,000 indirectly (through related projects involving transportation, logistics and services).

Production is set to begin in the second half of 2021. By 2022, the state hopes to have a production capacity of around 40,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide.

This is the first public-private tie-up to be incorporated under Bolivian mixed enterprise legislation, enacted in 2013. Latin Lawyer also understands the deal, worth some US$2 billion, is the largest joint public-private investment in Bolivian history.

Moreno Baldivieso partner Andres Moreno is confident more public-private enterprises will happen in Bolivia as a result of this unprecedented deal. “We believe the Bolivian state intends to use this partnership model for several of the new investments to be executed in Bolivian territory,” he says.

The deal closed on 12 December.

Counsel to ACI Systems
Moreno Baldivieso Estudio de Abogados
Partners Andrés Moreno and Daniel Arredondo in La Paz

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