Peru Aims Domestic Production of Lithium Batteries

Peru’s Vice Minister of Mines Chavez said the government is looking to produce lithium batteries domestically, joining other Latin American nations with ambitions to industrialize their resources of the battery metal needed to power electric vehicles (EVs).  “We are already starting to act to see if we can develop a battery industry,” Chavez said at the Perumin mining industry conference.

Peru is the world’s second biggest copper producer and an attractive destination for global miners. It has some lithium deposits in the country’s south, which are currently being explored by Vancouver-based American Lithium.

But those deposits are significantly smaller than those in the so-called Lithium Triangle, made up of Bolivia, Chile and Argentina.

Lithium batteries are critical for meeting the growing demand for EVs, as part of a transition away from combusiton engine vehicles.

“We have a lot of reserves and we think this is an opportunity and a challenge to carry out (lithium) extraction and value-added production,” Chavez said.

Peru currently does not produce any lithium, and no country in South America manufactures lithium batteries at scale, even if they do mine lithium.

Chile and Argentina rank as the world’s No. 2 and No. 4 producers of unrefined lithium, respectively. Bolivia has the world’s largest lithium resources but has for years struggled to mine them at a commercial scale.

Mexico nationalized its lithium resources earlier this year and announced a state lithium mining company but has yet to start lithium production.

Lithium battery production is currently dominated by China.

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