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Lithium is considered the white gold of the energy transition. The automotive industry's demand for e-mobility in particular is causing the demand for the alkali metal to explode. The price of lithium carbonate has increased fifteenfold in the past two years.
One of the largest deposits is in South America, where lithium is extracted from salt lakes. Car manufacturer BMW claims to source lithium there directly from a particularly sustainable producer: Livent. In March 2021, BMW concluded a contract worth 285 million euros with the US group, which extracts lithium from the Salar del Hombre Muerto, a salt lake in Argentina.
This investigation was supported by GRID-Arendal, IJ4EU, and EJC.
Authors: Stefan Borghardt, Deana Mrkaja, Sebastian Friedrich, Lisa Maria Hagen, Nadia Kailouli, Simon Zamora Martin,
Remote Sensing Analysis: Marcus Pfeil, Michael Anthony
Editorial Staff: Salome Zadegan, Lutz Ackermann
Cut: Julian Schöneich
Graphics: Jens-Eric Peter
Camera: Lukas Augustin, Stefan Borghardt, Manuel Daubenberger, David Diwiak, Lisa Maria Hagen, Florian Manz, Johanna Schwarz, Gregor Sinbrumer, Henning Wirtz