Latin America, which has the largest lithium reserves in the world, You must invest and bet on technology if you want retain their market shares in the race to exploit this metal, vital in the transition towards electric mobility, pointed the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Cepal).
(See: Lithium market requires US $ 51,000 million to avoid shortages).
The ‘white gold’ produced in the region will go from representing 37% of world consumption in 2021 to 32% in 2030, due to the incorporation of new producing countries such as United States, Canada or Zimbabwe, as well as by the increase in the volumes extracted, the organization maintained.
The region presents “a promising outlook in terms of new lithium mining projects, but “its (market) share could fall in relative terms (…) by 2030“, explained the head of ECLAC, José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs.
Latin America must project a strategy for “maintain that market share or even increase it”through actions in the areas of investment, technological development and improvements in governance, said the official when presenting, on Thursday, July 6, the first regional report on the lithium market.
(See: Exploitation of lithium: this is how Chile, Bolivia, Argentina and Mexico do it).
According to the study, the three countries that make up the so-called lithium triangle -Chile, Bolivia and Argentina- They account for 56% of the world total of ‘white gold’.
This percentage rises to 60% if other Latin American countries are considered, such as Mexico, Peru and Brazil.
The metal has experienced a voracious demand in recent years and that led to the fact that in 2022 its price will skyrocket by 400%.
(See: The dispute between China and the United States over lithium in Latin America).
The executive secretary of ECLAC maintained that the countries that have lithium are facing a window of opportunity that could last “two or three decades”, but take advantage of it “involves implementing a political agenda for productive development“.
The demand for this metal is going to multiply several times in the next decade, So it is “an opportunity to increase extraction, refining, exports, create jobs, create tax revenue and develop an industry with productive chains“, highlighted ECLAC.
(See: Lithium: the ‘white gold’ of the 21st century).
World lithium production is concentrated in four countries: Australia, Chile, China and Argentina, that in 2021 they dumped 96% of the lithium consumed on the market.