Argentina's Mining Exports Reach 10-Year High Amid Surge in Lithium and Electric Vehicle Demand
- 24-Mar-2023 3:10 PM
- Journalist: Emilia Jackson
Argentina [South America]: Despite struggling with triple-digit inflation and the effects of a devastating drought, Argentina's mining exports reached a historic high of $3.86 billion last year, thanks to surging income from Lithium exports. The South American agricultural powerhouse is taking advantage of opportunities in the booming electric vehicle sector by targeting profits from Lithium - the metal key to meeting demand.
Located in sprawling salt flats and using solar power, Argentina (like neighboring Chile) extracts its Lithium riches from brine in evaporation pools.
Lithium exports from Argentina saw an exceptional surge in 2022, spiking by a remarkable 234% year-on-year and accounting for almost one fifth of all mining exports. February shipments set a record high of $58 million, and the trend is showing no signs of slowing down.
The Argentine Ministry of Mining has predicted total mining revenues to reach $6 billion this year - thanks in part to two new Lithium projects set to launch, as well as major expansions currently underway. Prices for the mineral have skyrocketed due to increased demand, prompting companies and investors alike to scramble for it.
With the electric car market set to surge in the future, some of the world's most prominent mining companies have established operations in northern Argentina. China's Ganfeng Lithium and America's Livent Corp, for instance, are supplying Lithium for use in BMW batteries. The Ministry of Production data indicates that combined investments into Lithium and copper mining since 2020 have reached $11.3 billion.
South America's "Lithium triangle" - encompassing Chile, Argentina and Boliva - produces more than half of the world's total Lithium supplies. This makes it an ideal region to continue investing in as automakers shift towards producing more electric vehicles in the coming years.