Natural Resource, Grievances and Conflict

New PRIF study on the local effects of the Bolivian lithium program published

Satellite image of a lithium mine in the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia. | Photo: Oton Barros (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Satellite image of a lithium mine in the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia. | Photo: Oton Barros (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Growing investments in electromobility worldwide are increasing the demand for metals such as lithium, which is needed for the production of batteries. As the political debate often focuses on the environmental and climate protection aspects of e-mobility, the conflict potential of local raw material extraction is neglected. Research has long shown that raw material extraction projects have far-reaching consequences for society and the environment and are closely linked to the emergence of conflicts.

In the recently published PRIF study 'Natural Resource, Governance, Grievances and Conflict' Janine Romero Valenzuela examines these interrelationships in the case of Bolivia, one of the main producers of lithium worldwide. Using extensive empirical material, she investigates the question of why there were no major conflicts in the Bolivian mining regions despite local consequences for both humans and nature. Using a Grievance approach, she identifies various governance strategies of the Evo Morales government that had a positive impact on local meaning production and thus reduced the potential for conflict. By comparing her results with the case of Argentina, her dissertation complements the theoretical discussion on the link between resources, governance and conflicts.

The PRIF study "Natural Resource, Governance, Grievances and Conflict. The Case of the Bolivian Lithium Program" has been published by Spinger VS.