The Place With the Most Lithium Is Blowing the Electric-Car Revolution

Rich One

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Interesting comments about killing the Golden Eggs a la Evo Morales in Bolivia, Lithium production has not developed since nationalization. None of the politicians in Argentina has Xp in productive extractive like Oil, Gas, or mining. The WSJ believes that at the moment Argentina has great potential for Lithium production development . Same thing for Vaca Muerta.

Politicians seem to overlook that to develop these natural resources large investments are needed for a long periods of time plus top notch leading know-how. Hopefully the Lithium and Oil and Gas production/Exports materialize in the Medium/Long Term.
 

Ries

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I have been saying for years Argentina needs to create a public private partnership with one of the big Korean or Chinese battery companies, and only sell them lithium if they agree to build the actual batteries in Argentina. Value Added, not exporting raw materials. And they should enlist the engineering department of UBA to create a national lab to design and build batteries and electric devices. Included in this should be an environmental plan to extract the lithium responsibly, and to create local jobs at the mining sites.
 

carride

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Argentina company taking orders on a tiny electric car now. No mention of who makes the battery.
 

Pierre Smith

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I have been saying for years Argentina needs to create a public private partnership with one of the big Korean or Chinese battery companies, and only sell them lithium if they agree to build the actual batteries in Argentina. Value Added, not exporting raw materials. And they should enlist the engineering department of UBA to create a national lab to design and build batteries and electric devices. Included in this should be an environmental plan to extract the lithium responsibly, and to create local jobs at the mining sites.
Huge difference between partnering with the Koreans and partnering with the Chinese, lol.

Anyway, the plan to do a public private partnership with a foreign company to build the domestic industry with strict local hiring and value added and industrial development plans is exactly what Argentina always try and always fails (as in, it's exactly what has led Argentina here). It's a recipe for basically no lithium getting out of the ground. Not only should the state have as little to do with managing pretty much anything economic, public private partnerships in Argentina are ineffective and a source of corruption. As much as I'd love to see Argentina become a world center of battery development, that ship has sailed and, anyway, it's better than battery development is done in countries with much higher (and enforced) environmental standards.

Instead, the lithium tracts should be auctioned, and the Australians and Chileans and whoever else that bid on those contracts should pay full market value (including environmental costs) in a transparent bidding process, and emphatically not get discounts because they're offering training or whatever inside Argentina that can lead to corrupt officials exchanging quarterly compliance approval for cold hard cash.
 

QuilmesSlo

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It's hard enough to persuade a foreign investor to run a project in Argentina without demanding local end product manufacturing.....

Walk before you run; the country needs to learn how to attract relatively simple extractive projects before getting fancy.
 

Ries

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Selling natural resources has proven disasterous for every country that depends on it to a large degree.
It pretty much inevitably leads to much more corruption, to dictatorial governments, and always seems to accelerate poverty.
Nigeria, Venezuela, and Russia are great examples of countries that dont do much of anything but sell raw materials.
Or, the blood diamond and metals exporting countries of Africa.
The oil rich middle east countries with tribal leadership, zero manufacturing, and horrible social situations.
Copper in Chile lead to a few very rich families, and decades of military dictatorship.
Argentina, on the other hand, actually has a manufacturing base- autos, steel, machinery and electrical goods like transformers, ag equipment, tools, textiles, garments and footwear, household goods, furniture, lighting, designer eyewear, and the list goes on- all of these are designed, made, and to a degree, exported.
Those are all areas where jobs are created, middle classes grow, and the economy is beneficial to a wider range of people, versus agrobusiness and raw material extraction, which concentrate wealth and encourage corruption.
If you really think the Koreans wouldnt deal with Argentina, my guess is Ford would- they are building tens of billions worth of battery factories in corrupt, poor, uneducated, third world places like Kentucky- Argentina is a much better environment than that. Much lower opioid addiction rates, murders and rapes, and less corrupt politicians...
 

Reply Guy

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I have been saying for years Argentina needs to create a public private partnership with one of the big Korean or Chinese battery companies, and only sell them lithium if they agree to build the actual batteries in Argentina. Value Added, not exporting raw materials. And they should enlist the engineering department of UBA to create a national lab to design and build batteries and electric devices. Included in this should be an environmental plan to extract the lithium responsibly, and to create local jobs at the mining sites.

I love this idea, but skeptical how it would play it out in reality.

If you really think the Koreans wouldnt deal with Argentina, my guess is Ford would- they are building tens of billions worth of battery factories in corrupt, poor, uneducated, third world places like Kentucky- Argentina is a much better environment than that. Much lower opioid addiction rates, murders and rapes, and less corrupt politicians...

I don't know all the details here, and realize it's a bit tongue in check but setting up a factory in Kentucky makes much more sense than Argentina. Tax incentives, geography, labor laws, infrastructure, etc. Is Andy Beshear really more corrupt than the average provincial governor in Argentina?

I say this as someone who would want to live in Argentina one million times out of a million over Kentucky.
 

carride

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Selling natural resources has proven disasterous for every country that depends on it to a large degree.
It pretty much inevitably leads to much more corruption, to dictatorial governments, and always seems to accelerate poverty.
Nigeria, Venezuela, and Russia are great examples of countries that dont do much of anything but sell raw materials.
Or, the blood diamond and metals exporting countries of Africa.
The oil rich middle east countries with tribal leadership, zero manufacturing, and horrible social situations.
Copper in Chile lead to a few very rich families, and decades of military dictatorship.
Argentina, on the other hand, actually has a manufacturing base- autos, steel, machinery and electrical goods like transformers, ag equipment, tools, textiles, garments and footwear, household goods, furniture, lighting, designer eyewear, and the list goes on- all of these are designed, made, and to a degree, exported.
Those are all areas where jobs are created, middle classes grow, and the economy is beneficial to a wider range of people, versus agrobusiness and raw material extraction, which concentrate wealth and encourage corruption.
If you really think the Koreans wouldnt deal with Argentina, my guess is Ford would- they are building tens of billions worth of battery factories in corrupt, poor, uneducated, third world places like Kentucky- Argentina is a much better environment than that. Much lower opioid addiction rates, murders and rapes, and less corrupt politicians...
Korea companies are starting to produce batteries for Volkswagen and for the Ford- F150 electric pickup truck, in Georgia, for southern USA produced vehicles. A peripheral story reports 2+ billion of US government loans to GM and Korea’s LG to start producing car batteries. It would be ideal for Argentina to put its own minerals into similar operations. What are the chances?

Can the F-150 Lightning Make Everyone Want a Truck That Plugs In?
 
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QuilmesSlo

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Selling natural resources has proven disasterous for every country that depends on it to a large degree.
It pretty much inevitably leads to much more corruption, to dictatorial governments, and always seems to accelerate poverty.
Nigeria, Venezuela, and Russia are great examples of countries that dont do much of anything but sell raw materials.
Or, the blood diamond and metals exporting countries of Africa.
The oil rich middle east countries with tribal leadership, zero manufacturing, and horrible social situations.
Copper in Chile lead to a few very rich families, and decades of military dictatorship.
Argentina, on the other hand, actually has a manufacturing base- autos, steel, machinery and electrical goods like transformers, ag equipment, tools, textiles, garments and footwear, household goods, furniture, lighting, designer eyewear, and the list goes on- all of these are designed, made, and to a degree, exported.
Those are all areas where jobs are created, middle classes grow, and the economy is beneficial to a wider range of people, versus agrobusiness and raw material extraction, which concentrate wealth and encourage corruption.
If you really think the Koreans wouldnt deal with Argentina, my guess is Ford would- they are building tens of billions worth of battery factories in corrupt, poor, uneducated, third world places like Kentucky- Argentina is a much better environment than that. Much lower opioid addiction rates, murders and rapes, and less corrupt politicians...

You are cherry picking lots of terrible examples -- plenty of well run countries make a lot of money on natural resources. Say Norway, or the United States for that matter, or Britain. UAE seems to be making its people pretty rich. So no, it's not proven disastrous for every country.
 
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