The global push towards electromobility as a means of reducing emissions and combatting climate change is undeniable. However, the discussion around the speed of this transition centers on both public policies that promote it and the availability of critical inputs for manufacturing the main components.
When discussing electromobility, it’s common to only focus on electric cars, with one of its key components being a battery based in part on lithium products. However, electromobility encompasses a broader ecosystem that includes not just mobility but also its infrastructure. Copper emerges as a critical and irreplaceable mineral in this ecosystem, joining lithium, nickel, cobalt, and rare earths as key components of many fast-growing clean energy technologies.
Despite its potential in this field, Argentina has faced economic instability and policy inconsistency that have hindered the development of large-scale mining projects. Currently in operation are only 17 projects – 14 gold and silver, and 3 lithium – with limited production capacity. This lack of infrastructure is another major obstacle to activity since every mining project must develop roads, electrical networks, renewable energy systems, gas pipelines, logistics, and multimodal nodes to ensure safe operation under international quality standards.
Although progress has been slow in recent years due to these challenges, lithium production has shown steady growth worldwide. In 2024 Argentina will produce 100 thousand tons of lithium products despite being among the top five producers globally. Six projects are currently under construction with an expected production capacity of more than 100k tons by their completion stage.
This gradual but sustained growth translates into increased participation in Argentina’s total mining exports. Over the past decade lithium has gone from representing just 1% to nearly 20% of the almost $4 billion exported by the sector last year (still led by gold and silver shipments). However copper exploitation remains far from its full potential even though there are significant reserves and world-class deposits in Argentina since 2018 with Minera Alumbrera closure we haven’t participated in copper market despite having important reserves and world-class deposits..
In order to capitalize on this opportunity moving forward demand problems may arise but supply issues could be even greater as investments seek new projects where operating conditions can be met traceability becomes paramount for investors looking for long term investment opportunities