Austin-based startup EnergyX from Bolivia’s lithium competition for technology

The government said US startup EnergyX and Argentine energy company Tecpetrol have been disqualified from the competition to mine lithium in Bolivia.

Bolivia has the world’s largest lithium resource, but with the surge in demand for electric vehicle batteries, last year it stepped up its efforts and struggled for decades to mine them commercially.

The six companies are still competing to secure a partnership. These include Russian Uranium One, a US startup lilac solution backed by German car maker BMW and Billgates’ breakthrough energy venture, and giant Chinese battery maker CATL. Others are Chinese companies Fusion Enertech, TBEA Co. Ltd., and CITIC Guoan Group Co.

To date, no company has used lithium on a commercial scale.

The Bolivian government has not stated why Austin, Texas-based Energy X and Tecpetrol were disqualified. The government said on Tuesday that it would announce the final results on June 15.

EnergyX statement The disqualification was announced over the weekend that it was beyond the expertise of the bidding process of Bolivian state-owned lithium company Yacimientos de Litios Bolivianos (YLB).

“The company humbly admits that the final report was delayed by 10 minutes (12:10 am, May 16, 2022). YLB has passed this deadline, and EnergyX has evaluated it. I have shown that this is the reason for my disqualification, “said EnergyX. release.

“EnergyX is a state-of-the-art DLE technology with our Lithium Ion Transport and Separation (LiTAS) technology, collected during four months of fieldwork by Bolivian engineers at the pilot plant and tested hundreds. We are confident that the data has been validated by the YLB Lab. The sample (337 tests to be exact) reflects this. ” “Energy X pilots have achieved 94% recovery, very high concentrations of lithium and very low impurities, while minimizing the use of water, energy and chemicals.”

EnergyX is probably the most prominent competitor and has begun production testing of a lithium extraction pilot facility at Uyuni Salt Flat in Bolivia this year. He also opened a courtroom to officials to show the technique and aired an ad on Bolivian television.

EnergyX recently hired Juan Carlos Barrera to oversee its business in South America. Valera is a former SQM official in Chile, one of the world’s largest producers of lithium.

Tecpetrol did not immediately respond to the request for comment.

Bolivia still faces significant hurdles in the mining of lithium resources, including legal regulations that currently prohibit private companies from mining.

South America has the world’s largest lithium reserves, but Bolivia lags behind Chile, the world’s second-largest producer, and Argentina, which has a promising pipeline for new projects.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Web staff