Dozens of evaporation ponds, some about 1 km long, are used to extract lithium in the Salar de Uyuni, in Bolivia.
This expanse of salt of 10,582 km² and located at 3,658 meters above sea level, contains 17% of planetary lithium. The brine is pumped up to 20m below the surface and discharged into basins over 1 km long. An essential component of computer batteries, mobile phones and electric vehicles, lithium is on the way to becoming more valuable than oil. Its global consumption was around 40,000 t in 2017 and is still growing, a real treasure for the poorest country in Latin America.