"MEXICO CITY/LA PAZ -- Hopes of an electric car boom are spurring companies to seek new lithium sources, but new finds may be lower quality and costlier to develop than established deposits able to meet demand for years to come.
Lithium is a key component in rechargeable batteries that power laptop computers, digital cameras and cell phones. Demand for the silver-white metal is expected to surge if carmakers start producing electric or hybrid vehicles on a large scale.
Excitement is brewing about new projects in Bolivia -- which could hold the world's largest lithium bounty -- and in Mexico, where a small company says it has a site with up to 800,000 tonnes of the highly reactive and versatile metal.
But all lithium deposits are not created equal and experts say the new finds may be poor quality or expensive to extract."