Argentine President Javier Milei recently travelled to Israel where he met with the state’s government officials and announced that he would be moving his country’s embassy to Jerusalem. This visit also helped facilitate a significant contribution to Argentina’s lithium industry from an Israeli tech company.
XtraLit announced a US$104 million investment in the South American nation’s lithium sector on Friday during a meeting with Argentine Minister of Foreign Affairs Diana Mondino in the city of Rehovot. The company specializes in direct lithium extraction technology. It has its own patented method.
“The combination of Argentina’s outstanding potential with the exceptional results that our tech has proved in relatively low concentration salars in the provinces of Salta and Catamarca has prompted us to deploy our technology and capital in the country,” XtraLit’s CEO Simon Litsyn said.
The funds will be put toward deploying XtraLit’s extraction tech, lithium exploration and opening a laboratory that will be run by local researchers. The company says it aims to expand lithium extraction outside of the Lithium Triangle. It will produce the commodity from salars that are currently not considered economically viable.
XtraLit wants to extract lithium from so-called “produced water” that comes from oil and gas operations as well. The Israeli outfit’s technology is highly beneficial because it is capable of extracting the element from concentrations as low as 5 parts per million, the company says.
Luego, los directivos de XtraLit, startup israelí que desarrolla un método de extracción directa de litio de recursos acuosos, confirmaron que, durante 2024, planean abrir su primer laboratorio en la Argentina con personal científico local. pic.twitter.com/HRb44YzKn4
— Cancillería Argentina 🇦🇷 (@CancilleriaARG) February 8, 2024
XtraLit to open cathode material production facility too
In addition to the company’s aforementioned goals, XtraLit aims to establish a facility that will produce lithium ferro-phosphate. It says the chemical is a highly demanded cathode material for manufacturers in the battery industry.
Argentine officials have been travelling the globe in recent days and promoting the country’s critical minerals, particularly lithium. Mondino and other officials were just in Belgium and Germany to discuss resource opportunities with European representatives.
Despite the battery metal’s value plummeting recently, Argentina’s lithium industry is expected to be worth billions more in the coming years than it is now. The growing demand for electric vehicles and an expanding battery market will be significant contributors.
Argentina’s lithium brine resources are currently being developed by junior miners like Argentina Lithium & Energy Corp. (TSX-V: LIT) (OTCQX: LILIF) and Lithium South Development Corporation (TSX-V: LIS) (OTCQB: LISMF) (Frankfurt: OGPQ).
Major producers like Pohang Iron and Steel Company (POSCO) (KRX: 005490), Arcadium Lithium plc (NYSE: ALTM) (ASX: LTM) and Lithium Americas (Argentina) Corp. (TSX: LAAC) (NYSE: LAAC) have established multi-billion dollar operations in the country’s salt flats.
Other lithium extraction tech developers like EnergyX have been deploying their technology in Argentina too.
That Florida-based company wants to help producers drastically decrease their high level of water consumption at brine projects there. EnergyX claims its direct lithium extraction method uses 80 per cent less water than standard techniques.
The main advantage of XtraLit’s technology is its ability to extract lithium from brine, produced water and other solutions containing a very low concentration of the metal.
“We signed testing and pilot agreements with geothermal brine owners in Turkey and France, oilfield produced water owners in Canada and the United States, salt lakes brine owners in Israel, Jordan and Argentina,” XtraLit says.
Lithium South Development Corporation is a sponsor of Mugglehead news coverage