Investment in mining exploration in Argentina hit $370 million last year, the highest level in a decade, the country’s mining secretariat said on Thursday.
Exploratory budgets grew 68% from 2021, the secretariat added in a statement based on data from Standard & Poor’s.
“The mining industry in the country is in full swing,” Mining Secretary Fernanda Avila said.
By 2025, mining exports in Argentina are expected to more than double in size to some $8.6 billion, the secretariat added.
“Argentina could become a key player in reducing the gap between current production and future demand for critical minerals in the energy transition,” it said.
Investments in gold exploration in 2022 led the pack with $173.6 million, though copper budgets grew 62% from the previous year to $81.8 million.
Miners invested $72.3 million in lithium exploration in the year, up 31% from 2021, the report added.
Argentina, the world’s fourth-largest lithium producer, has three plants in operation owned by miners Livent, Sales de Jujuy and Exar. Five more projects are currently under construction.
The Latin American nation – and the region’s third-largest economy – has a total of 161 mining projects underway. Of those, 24 are in production, with 21 mainly mining for gold and three mining silver.
Mining in Argentina has largely been backed by private firms as the government is seeking a boost from the sector to raise much-needed dollars. While the industry is growing in the country, Argentina’s economy has been hit by soaring inflation, which hit an annual rate of 114% in May.
(By Lucila Sigal and Kylie Madry; Editing by Josie Kao)