The Argentine mining industry has been able to generate a socioeconomic transformation, thanks to its potential and a government project that has it as a protagonist. An ambitious portfolio with different ventures emerges as the great hope to continue the path already traced. The diversity of minerals, regional and global economic-political situations, are the keys for mining to continue consolidating its role as a promoter and revitalizer of regional economies.
Alberto Hensel, former Secretary of Mining of the Argentine Republic, spoke in an interview with Ahora San Juan, a partner of TV BRICS network, about the development of mining in Argentina and the various challenges facing the industry.
“There is, currently, a conviction in the Argentine political leadership – especially in those who have the responsibility of governing the destiny of the country - that mining, together with oil, gas production and non-conventional alternative energies, will be a great solution for the future of our country”
Alberto Hensel Former Secretary of Mining of the Argentine Republic
In addition, he stressed that it's especially the mining sector is the one that can contribute the most with the foreign exchange that Argentina needs today to be able to resolve the economic situation the country is going through. It can be a great engine of regional industries and can become an export industry. San Juan and Santa Cruz are the main exporters of gold in Argentina.
With broad support from the national government, aware of its strong potential measured through the social and economic impact in sleepy regions of Argentina, the mining industry is developing in line with the principles of sustainable development and responsible use of natural resources.
One of the most valuable objectives of Dr. Hensel's management as Secretary of Mining of the Nation is the preparation of a “Strategic Plan for Mining Development” that includes national and provincial government agencies, civil and religious society organizations, scientific institutions, unions, companies and professionals. Inviting them to an open dialogue to develop inclusive, competitive, integrated and environmentally sustainable mining for the next 30 years.
Argentina occupies the sixth place among the countries with the largest mineral resources with a productive potential area of 750,000 km2, of which more than 75% remains to be explored. The country is the fourth-largest in lithium reserves. The "lithium triangle" - Argentina, Bolivia and Chile - accounts for almost 65 per cent of world reserves.
Argentina has a policy of attracting investment in lithium production, including 30 years of legal tax stability guarantees and other incentives.
With growing demand for the metal, which is needed to produce lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles, the country is well positioned to become a key player in the energy revolution.
The lithium carbonate (LCE) produced by Argentina meets the purity standards demanded by the battery market. It is an important particularity that Argentina must preserve as a differentiating element against future competition.
In this sense, he adds, "it is important to move forward and try, as far as possible, to manufacture batteries using lithium hydroxide -which has greater growth potential due to its use in technologies-, but it is also important for Argentina, export lithium chloride, lithium carbonate in order to be much more competitive globally."
Argentina aspires to join the BRICS, the group made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. This was stated by President Alberto Fernandez, during the XIV Summit of Heads of State of the BRICS. This group brings together five countries that concentrate high percentages of population, territory and resources.
Photo: Ahora San Juan