The Exports from the mining sector could go from 3.2 billion dollars a year to 8.6 billion in 2025, estimated the Secretary of Mining, Fernanda Ávila, who produced that calculation, “taking into account the projects under construction, with a relatively conservative price of lithium.” The Minister of Economy, Sergio Massa, believes that mining will be a growing source of foreign currency in the coming years and this is a diagnosis that, contrary to the rest of the political agenda, is shared by the country’s two main political coalitions, the Front of Everyone and Together for Change.
The favorable expectation in the mining sector is based on its growing weight in the energy sector. The electrification of energy matrices that requires the adoption of less polluting technologies than fossil fuels, such as wind, solar and hydroelectric energy, needs huge amounts of minerals, mainly copper. That offers a good price horizon. In addition, lithium and other minerals are key to the battery manufacturing that allow the storage of electrical energy, something essential for the electrification of transport.
According to Fernanda Ávila, mining exports in July were around 291 million dollars, with a accumulated of 2209 million dollars in the period January-July of this year. This allowed the mining surplus in the first seven months of the year to accumulate 1905 million dollarswhich implies a positive variation of 31 percent compared to the same period last year.
The sector is a structural net exporter, to the extent that it has little weight of imported content in relation to the magnitude of minerals that it sends abroad. In this sense, Ávila recalled that mining maintains an exchange surplus “in every month since 2003, with an accumulated contribution of 53 billion dollarsa balance that serves to cover the foreign exchange needs of other sectors.” “Every 10 dollars that go into mining exports, only 1 is spent on imports,” the official said.
“All forecasts indicate that the world is going to need more and more mining and the conditions in the country are right for that. There are currently 113 mining projects in the pipeline, of which 18 are already in production stages, 95 in advanced stages Y 8 under construction“, explained Ávila. Based on that map, the Government calculates that mining could go on to export 8.6 billion dollars in 2025.
The official also explained that based on the projects under construction, “in 2026 we will begin to have copper projection, a central element for the energy transition. We have reserves of more than 60 million tons and the current world demand is 28 million tons.”
Lithium in Formosa
The governor of Formosa, Gildo Insfrán, reported the “presence of lithium in hydrocarbon areas in the west of the province, which opens investment possibilities.” Currently, lithium reserves are concentrated in the high-altitude salt flats of the Puna, in the provinces of Jujuy, Salta and Catamarca. Insfrán said that “this valuable resource is found in deep saline waters“.
“We are advancing in different areas of research to evaluate the lithium carbonate production alternatives in our territory, together with the construction of a pilot extraction plant,” he added. Within the framework of the upcoming mission of governors from the Great North and national officials to the United States, Formosa will hold “meetings with companies specializing in the production of lithium from deep waters, to explore possibilities of cooperation and investment”.