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Germany secures access to vast lithium deposit in Bolivia

BERLIN, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Germany and Bolivia on Wednesday sealed a partnership for the industrial use of lithium, a key raw material for the production of battery cells, in an important step to become less dependent on Asian market leaders in the dawning age of electric cars.

“Germany should become a leading location for battery cell production. A large part of production costs is linked to raw materials,” German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said.

“German industry is therefore well advised to secure its needs for lithium early in order to avoid falling behind and slipping into dependency,” Altmaier said, adding that the deal was “an important building block” to secure this supply.

With the joint venture, Bolivian state company YLB is teaming up with Germany’s privately-owned ACI Systems to develop its massive Uyuni salt flat and build a lithium hydroxide plant as well as a factory for electric car batteries in Bolivia. (Reporting by Michael Nienaber Editingy by Maria Sheahan)

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