Buenos Aires — Israeli company XtraLit announced Friday it will invest US$104 million in lithium projects in Argentina. The decision was made public on the occasion of President Javier Milei’s visit to Israel this week, and following a meeting between the company’s authorities and Foreign Minister Diana Mondino.
XtraLit was founded in 2021 and is mainly focused on developing technology for direct lithium extraction, generally regarded as more sustainable than indirect methods.
The investment would mark the arrival of the first Israeli company onto the lithium scene in Argentina, with the “white gold” rush currently dominated by firms headquartered in Australia, Canada, China, and the United States.
The company announced its expansion into Argentina after setting up a US$104 million ad-hoc fund, “specifically dedicated to projects in that country,” according to a statement sent to Bloomberg Línea. The company’s strategy will focus on lithium exploration, developing direct lithium extraction technology, opening an R&D laboratory, and establishing a facility to produce lithium ferrophosphate (LFP)”, a cathode material in high demand and crucial in the growing battery industry.
Regarding exploration, the company says it will focus on the lithium-rich provinces of northern Argentina (Catamarca, Salta, and Jujuy), but will also look at other provinces where lithium concentration is low and the company’s technology can facilitate extraction. According to the company, the goal is to “expand the Argentine lithium ‘frontiers’ beyond the traditional ‘Lithium Triangle’ by putting into production salars that are currently not economically viable.”
This could be done, for example, through the extraction of lithium contained in salt waters found at oil and gas production sites.
“The combination of Argentina’s great potential with the exceptional results that our technology has shown in salars with relatively low concentration in the provinces of Salta and Catamarca has prompted us to invest our technology and capital in the country,” said Litsyn after the meeting with Mondino and other Argentine authorities.
“Although we are just starting operations in Argentina with this US$104 million investment, we expect to remain active, seeking additional opportunities that allow Argentina to become one of the top lithium producers in the world,” said Gerardo Tyszberowicz, Director for Latin America at XtraLit.
Founded by Simon Litsyn, XtraLit has Geolit, Halliburton Labs (a subsidiary of Halliburton), and Arkin among its main investors and in 2023 was selected by Chile’s SQM, the largest lithium producer in South America, for its technology acceleration program.