Known as white gold, lithium is needed to power batteries for electric cars, for example. In turn, they are needed for emission reductions to curb global warming.
But at what cost?
The environment around the salt pan in the Andes is also home to the indigenous Lickanantay people.
The Atacama Desert is a key location for tackling climate change. Chile produces the second largest amount of lithium in the world after Australia from two lithium companies, Chile's Sociedad Quimica & Minera (SQM) and the US-based Albemarle. Around 80% of lithium imported into the EU is of Chilean origin.
Story with Vilma Romsi for YLE.