Argentina will buy locally-produced lithium from US company Livent to produce cells and batteries in a new plant set to start operating in September, the country’s mining ministry said.
The purchase is part of an agreement signed at the beginning of the year by Catamarca province, where the lithium is produced, and state-owned energy research company Y-TEC, in which Livent would supply lithium to UNILIB, the region’s first cells and batteries development plant, according to the ministry.
Argentina has become the world’s fastest-growing lithium producer. It has three active mines and 38 under development. The industry had record exports in May, representing 19% of the country’s mining exports.
Now Argentina is looking to develop the value chain around its mining products. The UNILIB plant, 12 years in the making, has the capacity to produce batteries for stationary renewable energy storage and electric vehicles.
“We know that obtaining battery grade lithium carbonate is a process with a very high added value,” mining minister Fernanda Ávila in a statement. “Our country has the human and scientific capital, and robust industry, to continue moving forward in the value chain.”