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Argentina is planning to boost its lithium exports to 200,000 tons over the next three years, expecting revenues to hit $5.6 billion by 2025, Mining.com has reported, citing government information. This should rise further to $8.7 billion by 2030.
At the moment, Argentina’s lithium production capacity stands at 37,500 tons but actual production is less than that, at 33,000 tons annually.
Argentina is one point of the so-called lithium triangle that also includes Chile and Bolivia and contains most of the world’s lithium. The commodity has become very hot in recent years because of the push for the electrification of global transport.
As a result, Argentina enjoyed a 234-percent surge in its lithium exports last year, with those representing a fifth of all mined commodity exports for the country.
In the first quarter of the year, Argentina’s lithium exports surged 133 percent in terms of value to a total of $233 million. March was the best month of the three, with lithium exports up by 93 percent on the year and worth $91 million.
Lithium export revenues for the full year are seen at some $6 billion, according to the country’s economy ministry.
Argentina has the world’s third-largest lithium reserves, which represent 9 percent of global reserves. Together with Chile and Bolivia, the country accounts for 60 percent of the world’s lithium reserves.
JP Morgan has estimated that thanks to its lithium riches, Argentina could become the third-largest producer of the metal in the world by 2030.
At the same time, because of the danger of a supply squeeze in lithium, EV makers are considering alternatives to the currently dominant battery technology. This might cast a shadow over the long-term prospects of the lithium triangle, but none of the challenging technologies have yet made a dent in lithium demand.
By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com
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Michael Kern is a newswriter and editor at Safehaven.com and Oilprice.com,