A Danwatch investigation

Devices draining the desert

1. December 2019
Sophia Boddenberg // Photo: Pablo Rojas Madariaga
Published in collaboration with
Play Video

Lithium is essential for the batteries in our phones, our computers and the skyrocketing number of electric vehicles that are often seen as playing a key role in the green energy transition

With half the world’s lithium reserves, Chile has been labelled ‘The Saudi Arabia of Lithium’. Almost all its exports are currently being extracted from its Atacama Desert, the world’s driest place

But extracting Atacama’s lithium requires pumping up massive amounts of the scarce water resources that has allowed indigenous peoples and animals to survive for thousands of years in the desert. And according to researchers, the extraction has already caused lasting harm to the area’s fragile ecosystems

In the Atacama and elsewhere in Chile, indigenous communities are now protesting current and future lithium extraction plans

Many communities claim they have never been consulted prior to the extraction projects, though Chilean authorities are obliged to do so according to international conventions ratified by the Chilean state

Danwatch can reveal that companies such as Samsung, Panasonic, Apple, Tesla and BMW get batteries from companies that use Chilean lithium

A Danwatch Investigation

The investigation divided into articles. You decide where to begin.

Do you believe this to be an important investigation?

We think it is important to investigate the influence of companies and states on human rights and the environment. And we would really like to do much more of this kind of investigative journalism.

Therefore, we hope that you would like to support our work.

If you already support Danwatch, we thank you very much.

Tip os

Har du en idé, eller har du kendskab til forhold, som du mener, vi bør undersøge – så kontakt os.

Det kan også være, at du er freelancejournalist med en god ide – skriv eller ring.

Jeg vil være anonym

Du kan bruge formularen – også anonymt – men vil du være helt sikker på, at ingen kan spore din kommunikation til os, anbefaler vi, at du installerer app’en Signal på din telefon.

I Signal kan du kontakte os på dette telefonnummer: +45 2340 6664