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Briefing on lithium mining in the Andes of South America : No to water mega-mining

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In the context of climate change, there is a growing urgency to substitute fossil fuels for cleaner alternative energy sources. Over recent years there has been a significant increase in lithium extraction, due to the use of lithium in rechargeable batteries for computers, mobile phones and other portable devices. However, the largest demand is for its use in electric cars batteries and renewable energy accumulators, which has converted lithium into a key mineral for the energy transition. 

This growing demand has resulted in an exponential growth in lithium exploration and exploitation in the High Andes of South America during the last few years.

Wetlands International agrees with the need to accelerate the transition towards cleaner, renewable, and sustainable energy sources to avoid the emission of greenhouse gases –mostly carbon dioxide (CO2), but also methane (CH4)– that are generated in the production, operations, and combustion of fossil fuels. The following briefing details our position on the acceleration of lithium extraction and outlines the impacts and our recommendations.