Since taking office last December, Argentine President Mauricio Macri has rapidly implemented changes to promote foreign investment in his country, including abolishing export duties and trade controls, and eliminating exchange rate and capital controls. The country’s mining sector is now set to take advantage of this “new” Argentinian market.
With many of the reforms implemented early in Macri’s tenure in December 2015 and January 2016, the increase in foreign investment can already be seen, and many new mines will be required to help satiate the burgeoning demand.
More than 70 percent of the world’s lithium reserves are concentrated in the lithium triangle—an area that covers North-Western Argentina, Northern Chile, and Southern Bolivia. The lithium largesse is split pretty much evenly between the three, although exact estimates are lacking.
Chile’s share of the world’s lithium market is shrinking despite having some of the best physical resources on the planet, mainly due to its poor government policies.
Bolivia, though it made a symbolic shipment of 10 tonnes of lithium carbonate to China last month, is even more hostile towards investors. With the construction of a single $19-million pilot plant yet to come online, Bolivia will be hard pressed to be more than a bookend in the next decade of Lithium. This leaves Argentina, which, according to Argentine Mining Secretary Jorge Mayoral, might have resources upwards of 128 million tonnes.
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