MOSCOW – Bolivian President Evo Morales underscored on Thursday hydrocarbons and lithium as two areas he would like to develop in collaboration with Russia.
The left-wing president was on a visit to Moscow, where he met with his counterpart Vladimir Putin.
“Our real desire is to keep working as we have until now in the ambit of hydrocarbons,” Morales told Putin at the Kremlin. Bolivia and Russia already cooperate in energy and energy research.
Morales told Putin that Bolivia had begun “industrializing” its lithium and expressed his interest for Russia to cooperate in that regard, too, insisting the material, which is essential in battery production, would be “very important for the world.”
The Bolivian leader also passed on his gratitude to Putin for Russia’s involvement in the construction of Bolivia’s nuclear investigation and technology center (CIDTN).
On March 6, 2016, the Russian and Bolivian governments signed a deal for the construction of the center near the city of El Alto, some 4,000 meters above sea level.
The 15-hectare site will have facilities dedicated to research in energy, medicine, and agri-food.
Both Morales and Putin underlined increased bilateral investment.
“The volume of trade is still very modest but the trend is good, in the first quarter of this year, trade increase 2.5 times, but the most important thing is that we have good prospects,” Putin said.
The head of the Kremlin pointed out that large Russian companies continue to invest heavily in the Bolivian economy.
Russian energy giant Gazprom, for example, has poured $500 million into the Andean nation’s oil and gas industry while, Rosatom, Russia’s atomic agency, was building the nuclear center, Putin said.
He said he hoped that Morales’ visits, his second in just over a year, would help contribute to further bilateral growth.
Recently, Bolivia has focused its attention on its natural lithium reserves, eying an opportunity in the global technology trend with many appliances requiring lithium for their batteries.
In February, Bolivian lithium company YLB signed a $2.3 billion deal with a China in its lithium production.