The shift towards electromobility as a way to improve emissions and combat climate change is happening at a global level. However, the speed of this change is being discussed due to public policies that promote it and the availability of critical inputs for the manufacturing of the main components.
When talking about electromobility, it’s common to refer only to electric cars, but this ecosystem encompasses much more than just mobility. It also includes infrastructure and the production of critical components such as copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt, and rare earths. These minerals are used in many fast-growing clean energy technologies like wind turbines, power grids, and electric vehicles.
Argentina has potential in this field but has been affected by economic instability and long-term policy inconsistency. Currently, there are only 17 mining projects operating in Argentina, including 14 gold and silver mines and 3 lithium mines. The lack of infrastructure is another obstacle to activity since every mining project must develop roads, electrical networks, renewable energy sources, gas logistics and multimodal nodes to ensure efficient operation under international quality standards.
Although there are challenges ahead in terms of investment value and time required for all off-site activities, there has been growth in lithium production globally. In 2024, Argentina’s lithium production is expected to reach 100 tons despite currently being among the top five producers with less production than Chile (180K). There are six projects currently under construction that will expand supply by over 100 tons of different lithium products.
However, copper exploitation in Argentina is far from its full potential. Since 2018 with the closure of Minera Alumbrera we have not participated in the copper market although we have important reserves and world-class deposits. The main driver detracting from these large investments has been changes in rules of engagement even with the Mining Investment Law which led us to divert investments from traditional producing countries to other markets where traceability can be met easily leading us losing years of development opportunities while more than one project was at gates of construction stage with average investments over $3 billion which implies high demand for quality employment development supply chains with high standards meeting international standards qualifying suppliers ability to intervene other high demands chains development infrastructure with positive externalities remote areas change regional productive matrix.