Life in Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni
According to Bolivian Aymara legend, there once lived a Vulcan Goddess whose breast had grown tired from nurturing her suckling babe. To relieve her sore nipple, she ripped the child from her teat, and out poured a deluge of milk, which promptly mixed with her tears as the flow spilled across the landscape. While her actions in this legend may have been hasty, they created the lithium rich Salar de Uyuni, a 10,000 square km salt flat perched high in the Bolivian Altiplano. Below the pink flamingos and vicuñas that inhabit this glistening pale-blue salt crust, rests a bountiful treasure of “milky brine.”
Though the palatability of this brew may be questionable, its inherent wealth – a stiff cocktail of sodium, potassium, magnesium, borax and, most importantly, lithium – is undeniable. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Bolivia holds 5.4 million tons of lithium, more than half of the world’s reserves. It is these reserves, valued at USD 1.1 trillion that hold the potential to transform South America’s poorest nation into the next Saudi Arabia.
Life in Russia
Russia is popular for its natural attractions that lure thousands of visitors all across the globe each year. Lake Baskunchak is located at a few minutes distance from the city Astrakhan and features the look of huge depression amongst the salt mountain. This salt lake is located 270 m north of the Caspian Sea and to 53 km East of River Volga.
The name Baskunchak of the lake means dog’s head. Legend says that once a caravan carrying merchant was lost in this location and their dog saw this lake and took a few laps of this water. However, the saltiness of the water was too much that the dog fell dead immediately and only its head was visible on the surface of the lake. This explains the saltiness of the lake that possesses 90% of salt concentration.
This lake is also known as the biggest salt shaker of Russia. Studies reveal that the salt reserves can last for many thousands of years. Multiple springs also contribute to the renewal of the salt reserves in the lake and brings about 2500 tons of salt each day. This lake remains as a salt mining location right from the 8th century. The availability of 99.8% pure salt fulfills 80% of the salt demands of entire Russia. Based on the demand of the Russian population, mining of 1.5 million to 5 million tons of salt takes place each year. The salt was transported initially through the Silk Road. According to Russian sources, the Baskunchak Lake was mentioned in the year 1627 in the book of the ‘big drawing’. This book had the first geographical description of Russia. It termed this lake as, “break the salt, pure as ice”.