Eramine South America, belonging to the French group Eramet, in association with the Chinese steel company Tsingsham, plans to inaugurate its first lithium carbonate plant in the northern province of Salta in July, marking a milestone in the production of this key mineral for the energy transition. in Argentina.

The firm aims to achieve initial production of about 3,000 tons of lithium carbonate this year. By 2025, they plan to scale this figure to 24,000 tons per year, according to Constanza Cintioni, Director of Sustainability at Eramine South America, in an interview with Reuters.

The plant is located at 4,000 meters above sea level in the area of ​​the Centenario Ratones salt flat, in Salta, about 1,400 kilometers northwest of Buenos Aires. The plant is projected to have a useful life of 40 years and its production will be destined exclusively for export, with a total estimated investment of 800 million dollars.

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The project will employ a direct extraction method instead of the brine evaporation process used by other projects in the region. This method stands out for its efficiency, requiring half the brine pumping to achieve the same level of production, with a lithium recovery rate of 90%.

This new lithium carbonate plant joins the three projects currently in production in Argentina, located in Salar de Olaroz and Olaroz Cauchari in the province of Jujuy, and in Salar del Hombre Muerto in Catamarca. These projects have contributed to the growth of Argentine lithium exports, which saw a 20% year-on-year increase in 2023, according to industry sources.

Foreign investment in the Argentine mining sector, especially in the lithium industry, reflects international interest in the natural resources of the South American country, located in the so-called “lithium triangle.” With this new plant, Argentina reinforces its position as one of the world’s leading lithium producers, contributing in turn to the expansion of the clean energy industry globally.


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