Mining secretary on Ámbito Debate: ‘Mining provides the dollars the country needs’

Fernanda Ávila talked about the sector's importance on the publication’s most recent panel

Lithium in Catamarca. Source: Télam

Mining Secretary Fernanda Ávila talked about the current present and future perspectives of two sectors considered to be strategic for Argentina: energy and mining. She did it in a new edition of Ámbito Debate, a series of talks hosted by the publication intended to discuss key issues of Argentina’s future.,.     

Here are the main points she outlined during her presentation: 

  • “Last year, Argentina’s [mining] exports totalled US$3.8 billion, 4% of the country’s total exports. While it seems small, you can see growth boosted by the development of lithium. We have great potential, as there are lithium projects in the works, as well as a copper development project.
  • “Mining provides a structural surplus. From 2003 and up to this day, the industry has never spent more dollars than what it has made from exports. This means mining brings in the dollars the country needs and boosts the development of other sectors that need them. It will be a lever for the country’s future development, essential in solving some of Argentina’s problems.” 
  • “We are in the best moment for exporting since 2012.” 
  • “We see a significant development ahead. If we compare ourselves to Chile or Peru, they export 10 times what Argentina does. And we have the same potential. That is why we need to keep working on the same path we’ve been on so far, to consolidate investments. These are serious investments that take time to develop, so we have to keep a broad perspective. Aside from generating dollars, they create jobs. Mining job creation is currently at a historic record [high].” 
  • “We need to understand that [mining projects] are distant from urban centers, and that development takes place in small, faraway towns. In many provinces where people were forced to go to other places to find jobs. These are opportunities generated by mining, its resulting development is very federal,” Avila said referencing the regional effects of these projects  
  • “Our projections show that Argentina could be exporting US$18 billion by 2030. For that you need to have an organized policy, because it’s a challenge. Our numbers show that four of the seven copper projects in development should be operational. Argentina has an abundance of copper and lithium, two minerals that are necessary for the energy transition. This provides us with a range of opportunities to keep developing the sector even more.” 
  • “Both copper and lithium are not only necessary to manufacture electric vehicles and store energy, but also for the development of renewable energies. Today, every country is trying to transition to greener economies. In order to do that, you need more lithium and more copper. Projections indicate that the world’s requirements [of these minerals] in 2030 are not currently covered. This means the whole world is looking for these minerals. Argentina has them, and they will play a central role in the energy transition.”.
  • “Currently, Argentina’s exporting complex is basically driven by gold and silver: they made up 78% of our exports last year. Keeping those projects going is also important. In that sense, some are closer to being ready than others, they need more investment to maintain their lifespan, so that is a challenge for the State.”

Originally published in / Translated by Agustín Mango


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