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Chile helps Dominican Republic identify lithium deposits

Dominican Republic has set up a special senate committee to investigate how best to commercialize and develop potential lithium resources. (Reference image by Ben Kucinski |Flickr Commons.)

Chilean experts from the mining ministry and the geology service Sernageomin met members of the Dominican Republic’s senate this week to outline terms of a cooperation agreement aimed at helping the Caribbean nation identify possible lithium deposits.

“We have already conducted campaigns about… lithium in provinces including Barahona and Bahoruco, in zones where there are salt flats, and we hope to continue designing an effective investigation program,” Dominican Republic’s mining director, Rolando Muñoz said in a news release.

A second meeting is planned to discuss the sampling process, the senate’s special committee president, Iván Silva, said.

Lithium consumption has nearly quadrupled since 2010, boosted mostly by an uptake in electric vehicles demand. The industry is expected to dominate demand for the battery metals, accounting for almost three quarters of lithium consumption by 2030, up from 41% in 2020.

Demand associated with cell phones, computers and tablets and other consumer goods will reach 411,000 tonnes in 2030, compared with the 79,000 tonnes expected for this year, Chilean copper agency Cochilco estimates.

Most of known deposits of lithium in Latin America are in the “lithium triangle” a region shared with neighbouring Chile and Bolivia. This area which contains nearly 56% of the world’s resources of the metal, according to the most recent figures from the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Australia is the world’s largest producer of lithium.