The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank, has announced its first investment in lithium mining, with a loan of up to $180 million (£141m).
It will support Allkem’s development and operation of a battery-grade brine lithium plant at Sal de Vida, in the province of Catamarca in Argentina.
Lithium is a key component for batteries that power clean energy technologies and is expected to play a critical role in the transition towards a low carbon future.
Allkem’s project is expected to produce around 15,000 tons of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) per year in its first stage.
It has set sustainability targets, including the expansion of renewable energy use in the production cycle to 50% by 2030 and increasing the percentage of women in Sal de Vida’s workforce from 10% in 2022 to 26% by 2030.
Sal de Vida is located within the Lithium Triangle, a region in the Anges along the borders of Chile, Bolivia and Argentina, that hosts roughly 60% of the world’s identified lithium metal resources in near-surface brines, according to the IFC.
Argentina alone accounts for 35% of the global lithium resources and ranks third globally in proven reserves.
Makhtar Diop, IFC’s Managing Director said: “Our investment in Allkem is part of IFC’s strategy to develop global supply chains that accelerate the transition to a low carbon future while creating jobs.
“It will strengthen Argentina’s position as one of the world’s leading lithium producers and help set high sustainability standards for the lithium mining industry.”