Australia’s Allkem Talks Up Argentina Lithium Potential

Australian miner Allkem, which is set to complete a $10.6 billion merger with U.S.-based Livent, sees enormous potential in Argentina, the company’s Chief Sustainability and External Affairs Officer Vizental said. Argentina’s strong pipeline of lithium projects could lure billion of dollars in investment by the end of the decade, while the country’s lithium exports could rise to $10 billion, Vizental added. Argentina, the No. 4 lithium producer in the world, lays within the so-called “lithium triangle” and has been scrambling to attract investment in its lithium sector. Allkem and Livent run the two projects currently in production, but a pipeline of others is set to come online.

“The size of the opportunity, if we look forward to 2030, is enormous,” Vizental said.

“We have a range of projects that are in different stages, of feasibility or exploration. If these projects end up being completed, we are talking about investment over $7 billion.”

Allkem and Livent announced a planned merger this month, a deal which would create the world’s third-largest producer of lithium.

Vizental said the merger, which she hoped would be completed by the end of November, would bring benefits of “scale”, more exchange of technology and innovation, and speed up investment.

“It is extremely positive for the projects we have here in Argentina,” she said.

Lithium industry executives and analysts argue that Argentina has benefited from a decentralized and market-led model, even as others in the region including Bolivia, Mexico and recently Chile, have followed a state-led development and even the idea of an OPEC-style lithium cartel. Chile, the world’s No. 2 producer, unveiled plans for a state-led public-private lithium strategy last month.

Argentina, Bolivia and Chile together sit atop half of the world’s lithium reserves, under salt flats in the high Andean plains.

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