'We don't eat batteries': the impact of lithium mining on Chile and Argentina's AtacamasPhoto: Andean salt flats. Photo: Pablo Necochea, Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Washington Post has recently published the third instalment of its series on the human toll of the fast-growing demand for lithium-ion batteries. Having already published articles about cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo and graphite production in China, the paper now takes a closer look at lithium mining in Chile and Argentina.

'We don't eat batteries': the impact of lithium mining on Chile and Argentina's AtacamasPhoto: Andean salt flats. Photo: Pablo Necochea, Flickr (Creative Commons)

The price of lithium has seen a massive increase over the past few years, as there is an ever-growing demand for battery power for both mobile devices and electric cars. Reporters for the Washington Post visited the indigenous Atamacas people whose ancestral lands lie above the ‘white gold’. In some communities, living conditions have improved slightly after the arrival of lithium mining companies. But there are also major concerns with respect to the potential for pollution and water shortages.

While it is difficult to trace where the lithium mined in the ‘Lithium Triangle’ ends up, the Post has identified Samsung, Amazon, LG and Apple as buyers.

Read the full story here.