The six liturgical projects under construction and the two currently operating in the country will make it possible to reach an annual production of 200,000 tons by 2025, for the equivalent of 5,653 million dollars, according to estimates by the Ministry of Mines.
The expected performance for this mineral is associated with the clean energy transition process that has already begun in several countries and which will allow them to achieve their decarbonisation goals, in a process that offers the country a window of opportunity for its extraction industry to consolidate worldwide to consolidate itself as a central player.
Argentina is currently positioned in the world lithium market with an installed production capacity of 37.5 thousand tons of carbonate and an average annual production of 33 thousand tons, and is considered the fourth world supplier after Australia, Chile and China.
The production potential and the growing demand were reflected in the increase in foreign sales presented by the two projects in operation: one located in the Salar de Olaroz of the Sales de Jujuy company, in Jujuy, and the other in the Salar del Hombre Dead, from l company Livent, in Catamarca
Thus, in 2022, lithium exports reached US$696 million, which implied a 234% year-on-year growth, as overseas shipments were US$208 million in 2021, accounting for the 18% of total mining exports.
Argentina in the so-called lithium triangle which covers the provinces of Jujuy, Salta and Catamarca, concentrates the second concentration of resources with economic interest, surpassed only by Bolivia; while, in terms of reserves, i.e. those deemed economically vital, it is positioned as the third country, after Chile and Australia.
The lithium industry is projected into a mining activity with prospects also for local development, and which currently allows 18 operational projects: 12 gold, 3 silver, 2 lithium and 1 coal, which together allowed mineral exports to reach USD 3,857 million in 2022, the best result since 2012.
According to projections by the national government through the Ministry of Mines, a scenario is envisaged in which lithium exports would grow exponentially, reaching the value of US$ 5,653 million by 2025, with six projects in various advanced stages of development. are added to the two currently in production, with the respective expansions of production capacities.
Meanwhile, by 2030 lithium exports are estimated to total $8.73 billion with a total of 11 projects in production.
Between 2020 and today, announcements of investments of $11,318 million have been made in the national mining sector, of which $4,853 million corresponds to copper operations, $5,141 million to lithium; $1,293 million in gold; US$30 million of silver, with the remainder being potash plants and other minerals.
In a near-term perspective, the six lithium projects currently under construction are expected to start production in the provinces of Jujuy, Salta and Catamarca.
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