At a global level, the progress towards electromobility as a measure to improve emissions and combat climate change is undeniable. However, the discussion focuses on the speed of this change due to various factors such as public policies that promote it and the availability of critical inputs for the manufacturing of the main components.
When talking about electromobility, it is important to note that it encompasses a much broader ecosystem beyond just electric cars. This ecosystem includes not only mobility but also its infrastructure, where copper emerges as a critical and irreplaceable mineral. Copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt, and rare earths are all critical components of many of today’s fast-growing clean energy technologies.
Argentina has latent potential in this field, but has been affected by economic instability and long-term policy inconsistency. The country has developed mining shyly with 17 projects currently in operation including 14 gold and silver projects and 3 lithium projects. The lack of infrastructure development is one of the main obstacles to activity in this sector. Every mining project requires significant investment in roads, electrical network installation, renewable energy sources like wind turbines and power grids, gas pipelines, logistics facilities and multimodal nodes to guarantee efficient operation under international quality standards.
Although challenges remain high in terms of investment value and time required for off-site activities, there are promising developments in lithium production. In fact, although Argentina is not among the top five producers globally yet, its production capacity is expected to increase significantly with six new projects currently under construction that will expand supply by over 100K tons of different lithium products. This gradual but sustained growth translates into an increase in its participation in Argentina’s total mining exports from representing 1% to 18% over ten years with shipments of gold and silver continuing to be led by traditional sectors like shipments of gold and silver.
On the other hand, copper exploitation in Argentina remains far from its full potential despite having significant reserves and world-class deposits like those found at Los Azules (SJ), Filo del Sol (SJ), Altar (SJ) among others. The main driver detracting from large investments has been changes in government policies including the Mining Investment Law which have resulted in diversion of investments away from traditional producing countries.
In order to capitalize on this opportunity presented by electromobility at a global level while addressing challenges such as policy inconsistency and infrastructure development requirements for mining projects like those related to lithium production or copper extraction