EFEBy Natalia Kidd Buenos Aires

Argentina currently ranks fourth worldwide in lithium output with just two projects in the production phase, but the steady advance of other projects and an investment boom in that sector have the country poised to take a giant leap forward.

Between 2020 and 2021, announced investments in lithium mining in Argentina rose to $3.4 billion, according to official figures.

And every week brings more announcements by companies - mainly US, Australian, Canadian and Chinese firms - about new exploration campaigns, project expansions, acquisitions and further investments, including an announcement by China's Zijin Mining Group concerning plans to spend $380 million to build a lithium carbonate plant at the Tres Quebradas project in the northern Argentine province of Catamarca.

"Argentina has gone through a stage of major investment in exploration over the past 10 years, during which time a very important portfolio of products has been developed," the president of the Argentine Chamber of Mining Executives, Franco Mignacco, told Efe.

According to the most recent data from the United States Geological Survey, Argentina is the world's fourth-leading lithium producer (behind Australia, Chile and China), has the third-biggest reserves of the world's lightest metal (behind Chile and Australia) and ranks second in lithium resources (after Bolivia).