Speaker: Consuelo Garcia Zavala

Date: Thursday 16th of November 2023, 1:15pm.


Lithium plays an essential role in global decarbonisation as lithium-based batteries are widely used in renewable energy and electric vehicles. The so-called “Lithium Triangle” extends over part of Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia, and holds around half of the world’s estimated reserves of lithium in the “salars”. Lithium extraction in this arid region raises challenges for the socio-ecological systems, which include fragile ecosystems and indigenous communities. Addressing these challenges requires companies to operationalise sustainability goals assuring continuous improvement of social and environmental performance, for which mining companies usually use socio-environmental management instruments. The question of whether these instruments are adequate to address the main social and environmental issues considering the particularities of this extractive activity taking place in unique geographic settings remains to be assessed. This project aims to understand the main socio-environmental issues associated with lithium extraction in the Lithium Triangle; and, through case studies, to assess whether existing socio-environmental assessment instruments are adequate for this activity and the complexity of this region.