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Green transport in one place should not come at the cost of environmental and social damage in another.  For the people of Tibet, this is a real threat with the extraction of lithium for use in electric buses.



Labelled by some sources as the new oil, lithium is a key element in batteries for many of the consumer goods that people around the world rely on, including laptops, cameras and smartphones. Across Tibet's vast terrain are salt lakes that contain some of the largest lithium reserves in the world.

In the rush to join the lucrative market for lithium batteries, several Chinese companies have moved into Tibet. This move is backed by the Chinese government but has met opposition from Tibetans who have experienced the environmental costs of lithium extraction first hand.

Among the companies to move into Tibet, the largest is BYD, a Chinese battery and vehicle manufacturer and the largest producer of electric transport in the world.