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Argentina braces itself for the lithium market

Over 13 percent of the global lithium reserves are located in Argentina, and the country ensures to maximize them.

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Certain provinces in Argentina, namely Catamarca, Jujuy, and Salta, have decided to play a bigger role in the lithium industry. The three provinces have teamed up in order to establish and regulate the workflow of mining companies in the country under a group aptly called the “lithium board.”

According to Mining.com, the newly established board by these provinces will focus its attention on redefining Argentina’s mining sector by establishing environment-friendly and sustainable practices. This includes toxic waste management, water-quality tests, and other mining remediation techniques that would lessen the projects’ environmental impact. It will also modify the process of how companies will obtain their licenses.

Argentina is one of the top producers of the white mineral, and as such, the country’s mining companies hold their fair share of projects annually. Without any regulation, lithium mining could have an adverse impact on the country, and that is what the lithium board is trying to avoid as it looks to pursue the “lithium dream.”

IPS News reports that Argentina holds 13.8 percent of the global lithium reserves and that it is looking to capitalize on these reserves.  Currently, the country only has two major petroleum mining projects running, but it manages to produce 40,000 tons annually. At any moment, it could turn itself into a major exporter of the material commonly referred to as the white petroleum.

According to a data by the Secretariat of Mines, Argentina has a whopping 873,000 hectares prepared for extraction of lithium. Backing this huge landmass of the mineral are 53 mining projects. By 2022, the lithium mining industry is expected to contribute roughly $7.7 billion in Argentina.

Lithium mining

Argentina’s Secretariat of Mines detailed in its data that the country has prepared 873,000 hectares for extracting the mineral. (Source)

Argentina’s recent moves towards the production of lithium and its safe mining comes at a perfect time as it is slowly taking over various industries. Its potential is so big that many are considering it to replace oil some day.

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Lithium taking over oil?

Seeking Alpha notes that the lithium market is “about to explode.” The report also says that Chile just upped its production by 400 percent. Although shares in the industry have dropped in the said country, it is just off to a rocky start and will bounce back and even soar to greater heights once lithium sales begin to grow.

Lithium’s sudden popularity is partly caused by the growing concern of fossil fuels’ effects on the environment. Companies like Tesla and Nissan are taking steps towards the production of electric vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries. With more companies looking to take advantage of this surge in demand, many can expect lithium to completely take over the auto industry in the years to come.

The recent developments are opening a few great opportunities for investors while the price of lithium is still relatively low. Investing in the material as early as now could become very lucrative when the time comes that the demand for lithium reaches an all-time high.

Arturo Garcia is a Peruvian-Filipino financial journalist. He is a self-confessed football fan. He started out as a political writer for a local daily in Peru, but now focuses on tech and business. Arturo studied Economics at Unibersidad de Lima and currently lives at an apartment in Salinas Valley, Northern California, exactly 725 meters from John Steinbeck’s hometown.

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