While Argentina is the world’s fourth-largest producer of lithium, it is also the fastest-growing in the sector – but for it to take the lead globally, its government needs to take a long and hard look at its current business climate to make sure it is appealing for potential investors as well as developers.
This prognosis was recently made by the local factor of Chinese mining firm Zijin Mining Group Company in light of the country’s national elections which are slated for October 22nd of this year.
According to Tomas de Pablos Souza, chief executive of Neo Lithium Corporation’s Argentinian subsidiary Liex SA, the growth of the lithium sector in neighboring nations like Bolivia and Chile has been severely hampered by government-imposed tax hikes as well as increasingly strict environmental regulations. However, what has been a bane to the neighbors has been a boon for Argentina as it opened the doors to greater opportunities in the field.
But for the sector to continue growing, the country’s next administration has to loosen up on economic interventionism. As de Pablos Souza puts it, the Argentine lithium sector stands on the threshold of a great opportunity to maximize its natural lithium reserves and propel itself into the lead or, at the very least, put it second only to mining titan Australia.
The country’s leading players in the lithium sector have lobbied the three candidates vying for the Presidency for clarifications regarding regulatory matters, the implementation of legal protection for companies in the sector, as well as congressional approval of the proposed electro-mobility legislation that is meant to pave the way for greater investments into the Argentine lithium industry.
As of press time, only opposition canditates Patricia Bullrich and Javier Milei have vowed to deregulate the economy if elected. The third, Sergio Massa, is running under the banner of the incumbent Peronist party, and has made no statements regarding the matter.