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【SMM Analysis】Expansion of Argentina's Salt Lake Lithium Brine Projects Halted

iconMar 18, 2024 21:07
Source:SMM
Due to demands from local communities, the Supreme Court of Catamarca Province in Argentina has ordered the suspension of the expansion construction and permitting for two major projects of the globally renowned lithium producer Arcadium Lithium - the Fenix project and the Sal de Vida project - until comprehensive environmental impact assessments are completed.

Due to demands from local communities, the Supreme Court of Catamarca Province, Argentina has ordered a suspension of the expansion and permitting for two major projects of the globally renowned lithium producer Arcadium Lithium - the Fenix project and the Sal de Vida project - until comprehensive environmental impact assessments are completed.

The province's mining and water resources departments are responsible for conducting the impact studies, evaluating potential impacts on the landscape, climate, flora and fauna, including analyses of impacts on local rivers and salt flat basins. The permits and authorizations for the two projects will remain suspended until the studies are finished.

As early as 2021, community leaders had filed lawsuits claiming that the province approved construction projects in the Salar del Hombre Muerto basin without consulting local communities or conducting environmental assessments. The planned Fenix expansion aimed to increase lithium carbonate production capacity from 18,000 tonnes per year to 40,000 tonnes per year. Meanwhile, the Sal de Vida project is constructing evaporation ponds, with plans to start producing 30,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate annually by 2027. This suspension has raised concerns about future employment and other projects planned for the region. Argentina is currently a hotspot for global salt flat lithium brine projects, with lithium salt projects in this province alone including Sal de Oro, Virgen del Valle Litio, Candelas and Hombre Muerto Oeste.

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