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Eramine Sudamerica’s lithium carbonate plant in Salta, Argentina: Revolutionizing battery technology

Eramine Sudamerica is poised to inaugurate its inaugural lithium carbonate plant in Salta, Argentina‘s northern province, by July 2024. The move, outlined in a Reuters report featured on the Economic Times, positions the company as Argentina’s fourth lithium producer, a pivotal element in battery technology.

Situated on the Centenario Ratones salt flat, approximately 1,400km northwest of Buenos Aires and at an altitude of 4,000m, the facility is anticipated to yield around 3,000t of lithium carbonate in its debut year. Plans are in motion to ramp up production to approximately 24,000t by 2025, according to Constanza Cintioni, Eramine Sudamerica’s sustainability director.

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Cintioni shared insights into the project, citing an estimated total investment of $800m (704.57bn pesos) and revealing intentions to establish a second facility within the same basin in the future. The plant’s output is earmarked for export, boasting an anticipated operational lifespan of four decades.

Distinguished by its direct extraction method for lithium, the Eramine Sudamerica plant deviates from conventional brine evaporation techniques utilized in similar projects. This innovative approach coincides with a resurgence in lithium prices following a downturn in 2023, attributed largely to diminished electric vehicle sales in China.

The inauguration of the lithium carbonate plant aligns with President Javier Milei’s administration objectives, which prioritize bolstering foreign reserves through exports in key sectors like mining, energy, and agriculture, aimed at addressing the nation’s economic turmoil and high inflation rates.

This landmark facility marks Salta’s debut in lithium carbonate production, complementing the three existing lithium production sites in Argentina. With industry sources reporting a 20% uptick in the country’s lithium exports last year, the venture signifies a significant stride in Argentina’s lithium sector expansion.

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