Argentina, one of the world’s fastest-growing lithium producers, says it could soon gain access to the US market.
Argentina has been lobbying to get in on US President Joe Biden’s electric-vehicle drive. Landmark climate legislation, called the Inflation Reduction Act, features tax credits for vehicles that have a portion of their battery metals sourced in the United States or a free-trade-agreement country. Australia and Chile, the top two lithium suppliers, have FTAs with the US. Argentina doesn’t.
Officials in Buenos Aires have been working on the issue with US diplomats and believe they are close to getting Argentina an exemption, Fernanda Ávila, the federal mining undersecretary, and Franco Mignacco, president of top industry group Caem, said Tuesday on the sidelines of an event in the Argentine capital.
Argentina’s push comes amid a global tug of war for key EV minerals between the United States and China.
The country’s only two producers as of now, Livent Corp and Allkem Ltd, are set to merge to become the world’s third-biggest lithium company focused on supplying the United States.
A third Argentine project is on the cusp of starting production. But the Lithium Americas Corp operation will supply China’s Ganfeng Lithium Co as Beijing commits more broadly to helping Argentina develop a lithium processing industry.
That project, which will be separated from Lithium Americas’ US assets, should come online next month, Mignacco said.
by Jonathan Gilbert, Bloomberg