Lithium metal.. Argentina attracts new investments of 4.2 billion dollars - Energy

Argentina expects to attract $4.2 billion in investments in the lithium metal production sector over the next five years, after it succeeded in attracting two of the world’s largest mining companies to its market last year, according to the Minister of Productive Development, Matias Colvas.

Lithium is one of the basic materials needed for the electric car battery industry, through which the world seeks to achieve carbon neutrality in the transportation sector.

Argentina, along with its neighbors Chile and Bolivia, holds 65% of lithium ore in an area called the “Lithium Triangle”, according to US Geological Survey data.

Rio Tinto and Bosco

lithium metal
Bosco company

Last year, Argentina succeeded in attracting the second largest global mining company to work in its territory in the lithium metal sector, the Australian Rio Tinto, in addition to the South Korean iron maker “Posco”, according to the Mining.com website.

The two companies are expected to contribute to attracting more than $4 billion in investments within 5 years in the lithium metal production sector. This doubles its production in the South American country, to reach 175,000 tons by 2025.

In March, Rio Tinto completed its acquisition of a project in the Salta region, which contains a reserve of lithium carbonate equivalent estimated at two million tons, sufficient for production operations for 40 years.

POSCO has pledged to invest $4 billion in the “Salar de Hombre Muerto” project, which is located between the provinces of Salta and Catamarca.

Infrastructure

The Argentine Minister of Productive Development said that the expected investments will contribute to building the necessary infrastructure for the production of lithium metal, in addition to improving the efficiency of performance.

The minister pointed out to Argentina’s need for policies that help stimulate investments in this industry, without neglecting the preservation of the environment.

Argentina’s production of lithium metal reached 33 thousand tons in 2020, and is expected to rise to 50 thousand tons this year, and then increase to more than 80,000 tons in 2023, and is expected to double with the investments expected to be attracted to 175 thousand tons in 2025.

New projects for the production of lithium metal are concentrated in Argentina in the northern provinces, and their sizes vary between small and large.

23 projects

lithium metal
One of the fields of lithium – archive

Argentina’s lithium production portfolio includes 23 projects in various development stages, such as Gaving Lithium.

It also includes a project, under construction, “Cauchari-Olaroz”, which is being implemented by Lithium of America, and is expected to be the largest lithium producer in Argentina, with a capacity of 40,000 tons per year of lithium carbonate equivalent.

The two companies – Australian Eurocooper and American Livent Corp. – operate the two main lithium mines in Argentina, and they supply Japanese Toyota and German BMW with their raw needs for the manufacture of electric cars.

The Australian company, Lake Resources, also has a presence in the Salta region with a project that will produce 40,000 tons per year, starting in 2024. The company recently concluded an agreement with Ford of America to supply it with about 25,000 tons of lithium per year.

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