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from Photographers' Blog:

The lithium triangle

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LITHIUM MINING

Argentina, Bolivia and Chile hold the planet’s largest reserves of lithium, a key component in batteries used to power a range of technologies from cell phones to laptops to electric cars.

Industrial production from the so-called “lithium triangle” is already high. Chile is the world’s leading source of the metal, turning out around 40 percent of global supply, and Argentina is another significant producer. Output from the Andes may soon rise after Bolivia - the country that holds an estimated 50 percent of the world’s lithium reserves - opened its first lithium pilot plant in January.

Reuters photographers recently traveled to the research and production sites in those three countries, all located in high altitude salt flats at around 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level, and wrote about their experiences.

GALLERY: THE LITHIUM TRIANGLE

Salar de Atacama, Chile

By Ivan Alvarado

Nelson sculpts alongside the dirt road that runs by his house. In the shadows I can see different figures of volcanic rock exhibited for sale to the few tourists who pass by here. His daughter Luz and her children keep him company as his hands transform another piece of stone into a miniature of a church steeple.

from Afghan Journal:

Afghan mining roadshow opens; temptation, trepidation for India, China

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AFGHANISTAN/

Afghan authorities have organised a roadshow in London that opens on Friday aimed at drumming up interest in the country's mineral wealth variously estimated at anything from $1 trillion to $3 trillion.

India and China, the regional heavyweights, are the top candidates to fight for a piece of the action in their immediate neighbourhood. If there are such large reserves of copper, iron ore and key industrial metals such as lithium lying untapped in their neighbourhood you would expect them to invest heavily in Afghanistan to feed their supercharged economies.

from Afghan Journal:

It’s all mine, says Afghan media

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Quick, find some lithium before the batteries run out...

(Quick, find some lithium before the batteries run out... pic by author)

A colleague blogged earlier this week about the report that says Afghanistan is sitting on a veritable fortune in mineral resources -- between $1-3 trillion, depending on how optimistic you are.

Although another colleague analysed more critically what enormous difficulties need to be overcome to see even a fraction of that sum, it hasn't stopped the Afghan media from getting excited.

from Afghan Journal:

Afghanistan’s treasure trove: a reality check

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(An oil installation near Herat, western Afghanistan)

(An oil installation near Herat, western Afghanistan)

A team of U.S. geologists and Pentagon officials have concluded that Afghanistan is sitting on untapped mineral deposits worth more than $1 trillion, officials said. The deposits of iron, copper, cobalt and critical industrial elements such as lithium are enough to  fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the war itself, the officials said.

Lithium is a key raw material for the manufacture of batteries for laptops and mobile phones, and the potential reserves of the metal are so huge that the country may well become the "Saudi Arabia of lithium", a Pentagon memo said.

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