Sat. May 25th, 2024
"Expanding Lithium Sector"

“Expanding Lithium Sector”

“India’s Strategic Collaboration in Argentina’s Expanding Lithium Sector”

"India's Strategic Collaboration in Argentina's Expanding Lithium Sector"
“India’s Strategic Collaboration in Argentina’s Expanding Lithium Sector”

 

“Come September 2023, Argentina proudly hosts two fully operational lithium mines. Livent manages the Fénix mine nestled in Salta’s province, while FMC Lithium oversees operations at the Hombre Muerto mine in Catamarca’s province. The Argentine Chamber of Mining Companies (CAMAR) reports a rich lithium resource potential, with an impressive 14 lithium projects either under construction or in advanced exploration phases.

Argentina stands on the brink of becoming a global lithium production powerhouse with these projects on the horizon. It already holds the world’s largest lithium project pipeline, encompassing over 50 projects at various development stages. This lithium surge is primarily propelled by the surging demand for lithium-ion batteries, essential components in electric vehicles (EVs) and other renewable energy technologies. Given Argentina’s substantial lithium reserves and cost-efficient production capabilities, it is perfectly poised to meet this burgeoning demand.

The prospect of India’s involvement in Argentina’s lithium sector is on the horizon. KABIL (Khanij Bidesh India Ltd) has been engaged in advanced discussions since June 2023 for the acquisition of lithium reserves in Argentina. The Indian government is on the verge of signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formalize this collaboration.

The interest in this endeavor sparked in December 2022 when KABIL representatives, joined by Indian Ambassador Dinesh Bhatia, convened with Catamarca’s governor, Raúl Jalil. During this meeting, their interest extended beyond lithium; they also expressed intentions to invest in gold and copper mining in the region.

In parallel, India is in preliminary negotiations with the Chilean government to secure lithium reserves, although these talks are in their nascent stages.

Lithium exports from Argentina experienced an astounding 235% surge in 2022 compared to the previous year, accumulating a total of approximately US$696 million, as illustrated in the infographic. With the existing project pipeline, Argentina’s current lithium carbonate production of 40,000 mt could potentially triple within the next year, or even surpass these estimates if direct lithium extraction technologies prove successful and infrastructure challenges are surmounted.

According to the ministry’s project portfolio, four new initiatives, including Tres Quebradas by Zijin company in Catamarca, Centenario Ratones by Eramine in Salta, Sal de Oro by Posco in Salta and Catamarca, and Mariana by China’s Ganfeng in Salta, are set to commence operations in the first quarter of the upcoming year.

It’s worth highlighting that the development of new lithium mines in Argentina presents challenges, including environmental considerations, water scarcity, and community concerns. The Argentine government is resolutely committed to fostering the nation’s lithium sector in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner. To safeguard the environment and local communities, the government has implemented a series of regulations and is actively investing in infrastructure to support the growth of the lithium industry.”

 

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