China aims to expand its influence in the “Lithium Triangle” as a component of a broader campaign to construct a near-monopoly in the global lithium market. The Lithium Triangle, comprising Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile, accounts for approximately 56% percent of global lithium supply.
Beijing’s acquisition of multiple Argentinian, Chilean, and Bolivia lithium mining operations enables China to dominate regional lithium operations. From 2018- 2020, China invested approximately $16 billion on mining projects in the Lithium Triangle and will likely continue to invest in the region.
China’s economic involvement within Argentina’s lithium mining industry allows Beijing to establish a stronger position in the global lithium market which can undermine future U.S mining operations within the region.
Argentina harbors 21% of global lithium reserves. On 17 May 2021, China’s Ganfeng Lithium and Argentina’s mining ministry signed a memorandum of understanding, securing Chinese-backed development of a lithium battery manufacturing plant in Jujuy province.
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