Wednesday, April 22, 2009

France's Bollore opens talks over Bolivia's lithium (BOLL: Paris)

From Reuters:
Bolivian mining officials have opened talks with French conglomerate the Bollore Group, which is vying for a contract to mine lithium at the Uyuni salt flat, President Evo Morales said on Tuesday.

Half of the world's lithium reserves lie in the Andean country and the largest deposit in the Andean country is in Uyuni, the biggest salt lake on earth and a major tourist attraction.

"We met with representatives of Bollore. The company and the mining minister are going to start negotiating, but we don't have an agreement yet," Morales told reporters.

South Korea's LG Group (066570.KS) and Japan's Mitsubishi Motors Corp (7211.T) are also in a race to tap Uyuni's riches.

Lithium is used to produce rechargeable batteries for cell phones, laptops and digital cameras, but demand for the metal could rocket in the next few years if carmakers start producing electric vehicles on a large scale. [nLR152958]

The Bollore Group (BOLL.PA) has developed a lithium battery that can power an electric car at a speed of up to 77 miles per hour (125 km/hr) with a range of 155 miles (250 km)....MORE

From Wikipedia:

Bolloré is a French investment and industrial holding group headquartered in Puteaux, on the western outskirts of Paris, France. The company, a paper-energy-plantations-logistics conglomerate, employs 33,000 people around the world.

In 2004, the Bolloré group ranked amongst the top 200 European companies. Whilst the company is listed on the Euronext exchange in Paris, the Bolloré family retains majority control of the company through a complex and indirect holding structure.

The company is led by Vincent Bolloré....