The rising global demand for lithium stemming from the booming electric vehicle industry will lead foreign companies to seek investment opportunities in Bolivia, as a key source of the metal used in electric vehicle batteries. The Bolivian government, which maintains tight control over domestic lithium production and refinement, has stated plans to partner with foreign firms to develop projects further. Bolivia holds an estimated 9.0mnt of lithium resources, more than even top producers Australia and Chile, according to the US Geological Survey. We forecast lithium mine production in Bolivia to rise from 1.5kt in 2021 to 7.3kt by 2030.
The forecast for zinc prices averages $2,300/tonne in 2020 and $2,450/tonne in 2021, as higher trending prices persist into 2021. Bolivia's zinc sector will see an uptick in growth in 2021, followed by a steady average contraction of 1.7% over the long-term forecast period. Elevated zinc prices support the expansion in 2021; however, from 2022 onwards, lower zinc prices will impact production rates negatively, meaning that we forecast production to decline from 528kt in 2021 to 453kt in 2030.
We believe that Bolivia's tin production growth will remain muted due to a weak and slow-moving project pipeline and the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Production will remain relatively stagnant over the coming years but still accelerate compared with the previous 10-year period. According to USGS estimates in 2020, Bolivia's tin mine production totalled 16.9kt in 2018 and 17.0kt in 2019. We forecast Bolivia's tin mine production to grow by 17.0% in 2021 to total 17.1kt and average 3.4% over our long-term forecast period (2021-2030) to reach 20.3kt.
The value of potassium chloride sales exported by Bolivia plummeted during the past administration. From January to November 2020 it fell by 78% compared to the same period in 2019. The reason: the shutdown of the industrial plant for nearly a year.
Demand for ginger has soared in recent months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The farmers of Villa Tunari, motivated by the quadrupling price, increased their production from 15 to 40 tonnes per year.