Chinese investors jostle over Argentine lithium mines

Excerpt from asia.nikkei.com

Chinese companies have splurged over $1 billion on rights over three lithium mines in Argentina in as many weeks as a race to secure supplies of the “white gold” critical to most production of electric car batteries revs up.

Argentina, which has lagged Chile and Australia in lithium output, has been reforming laws, reducing taxes and improving infrastructure with an eye toward boosting export revenues.

This has drawn attention even from companies outside the lithium mining sector, including Chinese state-owned gold and copper producer Zijin Mining Group and Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. (CATL), the country’s top auto battery maker.

On Sunday, Zijin said it had reached agreement to buy Toronto-listed Neo Lithium for 960 million Canadian dollars ($770 million).

Neo’s main asset is the Tres Quebradas (3Q) Salar lithium brine project in Catamarca Province, an area of northwest Argentina included in the “Lithium Triangle” which also takes in parts of Bolivia and Chile.