Joshua Keating, in Foreign Policy, offers a photo essay on lithium extraction in Bolivia. Keating said:
Bolivia hopes its lithium treasure can pull it up from the bottom rungs of the global economy, but as countries throughout the developing world have learned the hard way, resource wealth can just as easily lead to corruption, mismanagement, and more misery for the world’s neediest people. Lithium may very well be the secret to reducing the world’s disastrous dependence on oil, but that doesn’t mean a new “resource curse” can’t take its place.
FP says the “Fifty to 70 percent of the world’s supply” is located in just one spot in Bolivia, but that claim is higher than I see other places. In any case, over 80 percent of the world’s production of lithium in 2008 came from three other countries: Argentina, Australia, and Chile.