The growth towards electromobility as a means to reduce emissions and combat climate change is undeniable at a global level. However, the pace of this change is influenced by public policies and the availability of critical inputs for manufacturing key components.
When discussing electromobility, it is often assumed to only refer to electric cars. However, it encompasses a much broader ecosystem that includes infrastructure, where copper emerges as a critical and irreplaceable mineral. Copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt, and rare earths are essential components of many fast-growing clean energy technologies such as wind turbines, power grids, and electric vehicles. According to the latest report published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), these minerals are used in various applications across different sectors.
Argentina has latent potential in this field but has been affected by economic instability and policy inconsistency. Despite this, mining has begun shyly with 17 projects currently in operation, including 14 gold and silver mines and three lithium mines. The lack of infrastructure development is hindering the advancement of large-scale mining projects, slowing down investment decision-making regarding lithium projects. The demand for projects is increasing due to the need for infrastructure development such as roads, electrical networks installation, renewable energy sources, gas supply logistics and multimodal nodes to ensure smooth operation of mining exploitation while meeting international quality standards.
Despite its vast reserves and world-class deposits of copper, Argentina has not been actively participating in the copper market since 2018 with the closure of Minera Alumbrera mine. The main driver deterring large investments has been changes in regulations even with the introduction of Mining Investment Law. As a result, traditional producing countries have captured more investments than Argentina despite its potential in this sector.
However, there are still several promising copper projects that are at various stages of development with high demand for quality employment opportunities and development of supply chains with high standards to comply with international standards that qualify suppliers to intervene in other chains of high demands. Infrastructure development is also necessary in remote areas where these mines will operate positively impacting regional productive matrix change requirements.
In conclusion, Argentina’s opportunity lies in capitalizing on investments seeking new projects where traceability of operating conditions can be met hand-in-hand with electromobility’s growth towards reducing emissions and combating climate change at a global level.
The challenges facing Argentina’s mining sector are numerous but not insurmountable if addressed promptly through effective policymaking that supports investors while respecting environmental concerns associated with resource extraction activities within local communities’ interests.