A Danwatch investigation

Watch the surreal lithium extraction landscapes from above

1. December 2019
Sophia Boddenberg
Photo: Pablo Rojas Madariaga

Danwatch sent a drone 500 meters into the air to catch the lithium mining in the Atacama from above. But even from these shots it is difficult to grasp the magnitude of the extraction. The turquoise and green ponds in this footage are only a small share of the total extraction.

One of the two lithium companies in the Atacama, the Chilean firm SQM, says that just one of their ponds is the size of 20 football fields. According to research from the US Arizona State University, more than 80 square kilometres of the Atacama are now covered by lithium mining.

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