The Nikkei reports that the Japanese government is planning to offer comprehensive economic aid to countries that produce rare-earth metals or lithium in exchange for supplies of the resources to be used in hybrid and electric vehicles.
In what would be the first such deal, the government is considering extending tens of billions of yen in loans by May or June to help build a 100-megawatt geothermal power plant planned by Bolivia, which in turn would allow Japan to secure supplies of lithium...Japan will also continue to cooperate scientifically and technologically to build businesses around lithium.
About half of the world’s lithium deposits are believed to be in Bolivia’s Great Lake of Uyuni. Japan, France, Brazil and other countries are vying to tap these mostly undeveloped reserves. Bolivia is expected to decide in the first half of this year which companies will be awarded the development work.