in conversation with Modo FontavecchiaOn Net TV and Radio Parfill (FM 101.9), Roberto Salvareza analyzes the challenge facing him Argentina After the establishment of the first industrial plant that would allow the manufacture of lithium batteries. “The reality is that a ton of lithium carbonate costs $70,000. Argentina is facing the challenge of industrializing this resource it has in abundance. If it doesn’t, it will have to import batteries at high prices. Have to do it,” he explained.
What does it mean that batteries can be manufactured and not just exported lithium as a raw material?
Argentina can take strategic steps, Of our commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, electric mobility is one of the components. Today we have solar and wind power which we are producing in the country and the production of these energies is expected to increase
In this context, lithium batteries play a fundamental role in storing energy or supporting the mobility of various vehicles, from motorcycles to cars or trucks.
Argentina is one of the countries with the largest reserves in the worldIt is the second and fourth producer of lithium carbonate after Bolivia, which is the major component for manufacturing the various components used for batteries.
Yes, our country has a scenario to industrialize the resources it has. If Argentina does not industrialize itAs electric mobility and renewable energy increase their presence, Will be a big importer of batteries who will pay a very high price, This will cause the same problems we have with the rest of the imports. So, being able to make a part of those batteries, It’s a success.
Argentina, Bolivia and Chile concentrate 80% of the world’s lithium and you said we are the world’s fourth largest exporter, are we behind on anything? Can we be second for example?
Yes, we can rapidly increase production and there are many mining projects in Argentina which ensure that By 2025 we will produce 40 thousand tons of lithium carbonate to 200 thousand tons, Work is going on on those projects. Today there are two companies that produce, but there are more than ten enterprises that are very advanced and will allow the production of everything necessary.
If Argentina, Bolivia and Chile have the largest reserves, and our country is the fourth largest exporter, then who is the second exporter who is not Bolivia and Chile?
Australia is a major exporterThe U.S. has resources in the form of rock mining, while we have a more competitive method that is through the salt flats, it is more competitive because it is less expensive.
Is it on the surface?
We have to extract brine over 200, 300 metres, but that doesn’t involve massive amounts of rock, as is the case with lithium exploitation in countries like Australia.,
When Argentina, Chile and Bolivia increase their production, will Australia’s lithium producer become obsolete in the sense that it is more expensive?
The demand of the world which will come from the world is going to increase. And all the sources are going to be competitive. It so happens that the initial investment you have to make to get off the cliff is high.
Together with Bolivia and Chile, we have the largest amount of reserves, we manufacture bacteria from now on, also in Bolivia and Chile?
There is a battery manufacturing project in Bolivia which is very interested in moving forward and has an experimental plant. Chile is more interested in the management of salt flats, which are complex. They know that today’s technologies cause water loss, a great deal of evaporation and that means problems with the management of basins and local communities. Therefore, Chile is more interested in the production of green lithium.
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However, I understand they are looking at the fact that it may be more attractive for Chile to industrialize than just export part of that lithium. So I believe that industrialization is going to be a real fact in this region, I believe all three countries are going to come together.
Is Argentina a leader in relation to the other two countries today?
We have, more or less, OUR UNIVERSITY AND CONICET . twelve years of research in On the management of used materials. We have captured this competitive advantage, we have opened a pilot plant, for four years we have been looking for the best material for the battery and today we can go from a pilot plant to an industrial plant. This is a result of Argentina’s investigative capability.
We call lithium white gold. Is there something mythical in thinking that lithium is a white gold that can generate both export and agro-export complex?
The reality is that a ton of lithium carbonate costs $70,000. Argentina faces the challenge of industrializing this resource it has in abundance, otherwise it would have to import batteries. I think there’s a lot of realism in thinking that Argentina has to industrialize its part, because that’s part of it that’s going to industrialize. The other is being exported as raw material. We have to see a possibility in the world of electromobility and in the renewable energy to come.
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