Inspenet, August 16, 2023.
Surprisingly, the Argentine government has announced that it will withdraw its efforts to nationalize the lithium industry, with the aim of reducing the internal conflicts that have characterized its recent administration.
This determination marks a drastic change in the position previously held by the administration headed by Alberto and Cristina Fernández, who had maintained a strong position in favor of increasing the central government’s participation in the profits from mineral exports .
The news of this unexpected change was communicated by Fernanda Ávila, the current Mining Secretary, who was present at the Lithium in South America International Seminar held in the province of Salta this week. Bluntly, the official stated that the debate on the nationalization of lithium resources had come to an end for the country and that legal certainty for investments in the sector was guaranteed.
“The Constitution establishes that the resources belong to the provinces and that is something that for us has no discussion and we work in a very orderly manner with the governors. That is very clear and for the Nation it is a settled discussion. We do not believe that companies have have no fear in this regard, because legal certainty is given,” said Ávila.
Could the government take up the idea of nationalizing the lithium industry?
This change in perspective represents a step back from the administration’s goal of taking control of the lucrative lithium industry, which is projected to generate at least $17 billion in coming years .
The strategy appears to be an effort to defuse tensions with the provinces of Catamarca, Salta and Jujuy, which have united in opposition to any attempt at nationalization and have expressed resistance to a collaboration with Chile and Bolivia in the lithium business.
As reported by iProfessional, in his participation in the seminar, Ávila highlighted the historical income generated by the mining industry in the last year and suggested that this trend could continue in the near future. Specifically, he emphasized the 60% increase in lithium exports during the first half of this year compared to the same period of the previous year. In addition, he announced that the goal is to reach around 4,000 million dollars in lithium exports for this year .
The decision to abandon the idea of nationalizing lithium represents a change in the policy of the Government of Argentina and seems to be motivated by the need to maintain internal stability in a context of political disputes and an electoral process. Despite this modification, it remains to be seen how this new strategy will affect relations between the central government and the provinces that participate in the exploitation of this valuable mineral.