Argentina at crossroads over the future of the lithium sector

Bolivian Lithium Brine

Excerpt from dialogochino.net

Argentina is facing a dilemma over the future of its lithium. President Alberto Fernández and his government want to boost the sector’s development, and for the state to play a prominent role in both the extraction of the mineral and the development of batteries for electric vehicles (EVs). However, social and environmental tensions over such ambitions remain.

The government’s desire for expansion has an international dimension. Globally, the transportation sector is estimated to be responsible for nearly a quarter of CO2 emissions, and moving away from combustion engines in favour of EVs is seen as a prerequisite for the energy transition. This is where lithium plays a central role as a key mineral – and one that Argentina has an abundance of.

The salt flats of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile account for almost 60% of global lithium resources. Argentina is home to 9% of the world’s total reserves – resources whose exploitation has been proven to be viable in technical and economic terms – and these are the third-largest behind Chile and Australia.