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IDB Invest Boosts Argentina’s Lithium Production to Promote Green Energy Transition in Latin America and the Caribbean


  • Sal de Vida project is expected to contribute to national and regional economic development through local employment and local supply chains.


IDB Invest will provide a long-term loan of up to $50 million to Allkem, a world-class lithium producer, through capital investments of Sal de Vida, a large and transformational greenfield lithium project in the province of Catamarca, in Argentina. The project will promote low-carbon and climate-resilient private sector development in the country.


The project is expected to produce 15,000 metric tons per year, which represents half of Argentina’s lithium production in 2022, through the construction and operation of Sal de Vida a battery-grade brine lithium plant. It will also generate around 1,000 temporary jobs during the construction phase and more than 400 high-productivity and skilled labor permanent jobs, 20% of which will be filled by women and ahead of the sector’s average.


“Lithium plays a critical role in the global transition to a low-carbon future. Latin America has two thirds of the world's lithium. This is the first lithium project we have financed and demonstrates IDB Invest’s commitment to working with the private sector to close the climate finance gap in a sustainable way,” said James Scriven, CEO of IDB Invest.


Lithium is one of the most suitable metals for batteries used in electric vehicles, mobile devices and grid-scale energy storage. Demand for lithium almost tripled between 2015 and 2022 Compound Annual Growth Rate of 20.9%, mainly due to the global increase in the adoption of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries.


“We are proud to have the support of IDB Invest to strengthen our commitment to growing lithium production in Argentina and generating added value locally. At Sal de Vida we have high sustainability standards to contribute to development in the province of Catamarca through local employment, local supply chains and community development program,” said Martín Pérez de Solay, Allkem CEO & Managing Director.


The project has been structured as a green and sustainability-linked loan with sustainability targets addressing participation of women in the workforce, increasing renewable energy in the project´s matrix and reducing the operational emissions intensity of the product.


Likewise, the project includes an action plan that covers both social and environmental criteria in line with international standards that aims to improve stakeholder engagement and environmental aspects of the project. Within the framework of this plan, IDB Invest will provide gender technical assistance focused on women to diversify family economic activity.


Sal de Vida is one of the largest private investments in the history of the province of Catamarca located at 4,100 meters above sea level in the Salar del Hombre Muerto, it will contribute to domestic supply chain growth expected to generate an average of $100 million per year in domestic purchases during construction and $40 million per year once operational.


In addition, the project will provide renewable energy generation through a solar photovoltaic plant of 15 MWac of installed capacity with an estimated annual production of 2976 MWh/MWac with 90% of exceedance probability.


Additionally, as part of its development impact mandate, IDB Invest will support Allkem to adopt internationally recognized environmental and social standards, aimed at identifying and managing any potential impacts on groundwater resources and the local ecosystem and support stakeholder engagement programs during the project life cycle.


The operation is expected to contribute to the following U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Quality Education (SDG 4), Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7), Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8), Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure (SDG 9), Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12), and Partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17).


About IDB Invest

IDB Invest, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, is a multilateral development bank committed to promoting the economic development of its member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean through the private sector. IDB Invest finances sustainable companies and projects to achieve financial results and maximize economic, social, and environmental development in the region. With a portfolio of $16.3 billion in assets under management and 394 clients in 25 countries, IDB Invest provides innovative financial solutions and advisory services that meet the needs of its clients in a variety of industries.


About Allkem

Allkem is a speciality lithium chemicals company with a global portfolio of diverse & high-quality lithium chemicals. Our unique portfolio includes lithium brine operations in Argentina, a hard-rock lithium operation in Australia and a lithium hydroxide conversion facility in Japan. New project developments are underway across the globe to enhance international scale and product flexibility to meet significant market growth that is underpinned by a global transition to a net zero carbon future. Our pillars of success are built on sustainability, cost leadership and product quality through relations with our people, partners, customers and communities. It is dual listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and Toronto Stock Exchange. For more information, visit