Bolivia should call in Global Witness

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As the Guardian notes:

Half the world's reserves of lithium, the metallic element used to make batteries in electric cars, are believed to be in the Bolivian salt desert, Salar de Uyuni.

And as they go on to note:

But there is a problem. Bolivia's socialist government has a habit of clashing with foreign multinationals in other sectors and has not clinched a deal — and, according to some, may never seal one — with the investors needed to extract significant quantities of lithium.

I’m wholly on Bolivia’s side on this: there’s massive evidence that time and again multinational corporations abuse their relationships with such countries and people like the World Bank utterly fail to protect them.

But there is a team that have the experience to advise on this, who have read more mineral extraction reports than any care to recall, and who have a proven record of success.

Bolivia should not do a deal without consulting Global Witness. Their team (which included me) who advised in the Mittal Steel / Liberia deal in the report ‘Heavy Mittal’ did, for example, suggest changes which meant the first deal was scrapped, rewritten and was massively improved.

It’s time for the NGOs and CSOs to use the expertise they have developed in criticising these reports to deliver a better world. I think we can do it.

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