Argentina’s first plant for lithium batteries will begin operations in September, using metal extracted locally by U.S. company Livent Corp LTHM.N, mining officials said on Saturday.
Livent had agreed earlier this year to supply lithium to the new plant, which was developed by Y-TEC, a unit of Argentine state oil firm YPF YPFD.BA.
“We will start to produce the first lithium-ion battery cells in the country,” said Roberto Salvarezza, president of Y-TEC, in a government statement, noting that the batteries will use lithium carbonate extracted by Livent in northern Argentina.
Argentina is the world’s fourth largest producer of lithium and has been attracting investment. Along with Chile and Bolivia, the country is in South America’s so-called ‘lithium triangle’, which holds the world’s largest trove of the ultra-light metal, highly coveted for its use in batteries.
Argentina’s Mining Minister Fernanda Avila said she hoped it would be an example for future projects.
“The development of the supply around mining activity is a priority for our government,” she said.