Electromobility is a growing trend at a global level, with the goal of reducing emissions and combating climate change. However, there are challenges in both speed and availability of critical inputs for manufacturing. Copper emerges as a critical component in the electromobility ecosystem, along with lithium, nickel, cobalt, and rare earths. These components are used in many clean energy technologies, such as wind turbines and power grids.
Argentina has latent potential in this field but has been affected by economic instability and policy inconsistency. Currently, there are 17 mining projects in operation, including 3 that produce lithium. The main obstacle to activity is the uncertainty and discretion in the rules of the game, which have slowed down investment decision-making for large-scale mining projects.
The demand for projects is also high due to the lack of infrastructure. Every project must develop roads, electrical networks, renewable energy sources, gas distribution systems, logistics facilities and multimodal nodes to ensure efficient operation under international quality standards. This increases pressure on investments and time required for off-site activities.
Despite these challenges, lithium production has begun to increase globally. In 2024 it is expected that Chile will produce more than twice as much as Argentina (180K vs 100K). However, six new projects are currently under construction that will expand supply by more than 100K tons of different lithium products. This translates into an increase in its participation in Argentina’s total mining exports from representing just 1% of $4 billion exported by the sector ten years ago to now being 18%.
Copper exploitation in Argentina is not yet fully realized due to changes in rules of engagement since Minera Alumbrera closed its operations without participating even though it had significant reserves and world-class deposits. More than one project is at the gates of construction stage with average investments over $3 billion each year which implies positive externalities like job creation development of supply chains high standards meeting international demands development infrastructure change regional productive matrix etc.
The future holds great opportunities for copper exploitation as it’s one of the top producers but not yet fully utilized due to policy changes like Mining Investment Law etc.
In conclusion Argentina has great potential in this field but needs policy stability and consistency along with investment confidence to realize its full potential as an electromobility hub with copper being one of its key components