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Chinese company to invest $180m in lithium plant in Argentina

Salta, northwest Argentina. Photo by Fernando Hidalgo Marchione, Flickr.

Representatives from Tibet Summit Resources announced that they want to invest $180 million in a lithium carbonate plant to be located in Argentina’s Salta province.

Construction of the plant is scheduled to start in 2020. Once operations begin the following year, it is expected to process 25,000 tonnes of mineral from the Salar de Diablillos salt flat and to create 200 indirect jobs and 200 direct jobs.

The announcement was made during a meeting attended by Tibet Summit executives and representatives from its recently acquired Potasio y Litio Argentina SA. The provincial ministers for Production and Employment; Human Rights, Justice and Government; and Economy were also present. 

According to Argentina’s Mining Geological Service, Diablillos is framed by a block of tectonic mountains to the east and a block of stratovolcanoes to the west. Its interior is compartmentalized in numerous faults, filled with clastic and evaporitic materials that give rise to the salt and salt flats, while the geological framework of the salt flats is given by mountain ranges with Paleozoic marine rocks, tertiary red layers and volcanic materials.

Argentina, together with Chile and Bolivia, is part of the so-called ‘lithium triangle,’ a unique stripe of high-altitude land covered with lakes and white salt flats where more than half of the world’s identified resources of the white mineral are found.