Lithium, a key ingredient in lightweight batteries, is already powering the modern world, and could be key to getting the world to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.
Look at a satellite image of South America. Halfway down on the left-hand-side is a distinctive white splodge.
Close up, that splodge turns out to be one of the most extraordinary and unspoilt places on earth, the world’s biggest salt flat.
It is a crisp, perfectly flat white plain, like freshly fallen snow, 100km (60 miles) across and 3,600m (12,000ft) up in the remote Bolivian Andes.
This is the Salar de Uyuni and this hauntingly beautiful place could be part of the key to tackling climate change, helping to wean the world away from fossil fuels.
Which is why, pristine as it may be, the chances are that 50 years from now it will all be gone – dredged, crystallised and then carted away.
That’s because under its thick salt crust, the Salar de Uyuni is also the world’s biggest single deposit of lithium, accounting for perhaps a third of the world’s resources of this alkaline metal.
Via Nalini Kumar Muppala.