Argentina: Lithium is declared a strategic resource in the Province of La Rioja and mining rights are suspended

In brief

On 17 January 2023, the governor of the Province of La Rioja enacted Law No. 10,608 ("Law"), declaring the study, research, prospecting, exploration, exploitation and industrialization of lithium and its derivatives to be of public interest.

The Law undertook the following measures: (i) suspended existing mining permits and concessions related to this resource for 120 days with a possible extension for the same period, with the plan to determine areas of interest ("Areas of Interest"); (ii) established the participation of the provincial company (EMSE) in all lithium-related projects; and (iii) established a preference right for provincial state-owned companies in the application for mining rights.


In focus

  • All permits for the prospecting, exploration and mining concessions related to lithium have been suspended for a period of 120 days throughout the province, and the Provincial Executive Power (PEP) reserves the right to extend this suspension once for the same period of time. 
  • The PEP will determine Areas of Interest for research, prospecting, exploration and exploitation activities in the provincial territory.
  • In those Areas of Interest, any permits granted by the mining authority will be terminated and all mining activities shall be carried out with the participation of the provincial state company EMSE (Energía y Minerales Sociedad del Estado) either by itself or through agreements with third parties. 
  • The PEP will be in charge of taking the administrative measures for the use of lithium that best suits the development of the sustainability model of the province. 
  • Provincial-owned companies will have a preference and/or priority when applying for any other mining rights over the Areas of Interest determined by the PEP.

The declaration of termination of mining rights in the Areas of Interest may affect the acquired rights of the permits' holders. In addition, the Law does not include details on how the provincial company's participation in the projects will be implemented, nor on the preference of the provincial company to apply for mining rights in the Areas of Interest.

You can access the Spanish version here.

Copyright © 2024 Baker McKenzie. All rights reserved. Ownership: This site (Site) including all documentation and content (Content) is a Copyright © 2022 Baker & McKenzie. All rights reserved. Ownership: This documentation and content (Content) is a proprietary resource owned exclusively by Baker McKenzie (meaning Baker & McKenzie International and its member firms). The Content is protected under international copyright conventions. Use of this Content does not of itself create a contractual relationship, nor any attorney/client relationship, between Baker McKenzie and any person. Non-reliance and exclusion: All Content is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal and regulatory developments. All summaries of the laws, regulations and practice are subject to change. The Content is not offered as legal or professional advice for any specific matter. It is not intended to be a substitute for reference to (and compliance with) the detailed provisions of applicable laws, rules, regulations or forms. Legal advice should always be sought before taking any action or refraining from taking any action based on any Content. Baker McKenzie and the editors and the contributing authors do not guarantee the accuracy of the Content and expressly disclaim any and all liability to any person in respect of the consequences of anything done or permitted to be done or omitted to be done wholly or partly in reliance upon the whole or any part of the Content. The Content may contain links to external websites and external websites may link to the Content. Baker McKenzie is not responsible for the content or operation of any such external sites and disclaims all liability, howsoever occurring, in respect of the content or operation of any such external websites. Attorney Advertising: This Content may qualify as “Attorney Advertising” requiring notice in some jurisdictions. To the extent that this Content may qualify as Attorney Advertising, PRIOR RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE A SIMILAR OUTCOME. Reproduction: Reproduction of reasonable portions of the Content is permitted provided that (i) such reproductions are made available free of charge and for non-commercial purposes, (ii) such reproductions are properly attributed to Baker McKenzie, (iii) the portion of the Content being reproduced is not altered or made available in a manner that modifies the Content or presents the Content being reproduced in a false light and (iv) notice is made to the disclaimers included on the Content. The permission to re-copy does not allow for incorporation of any substantial portion of the Content in any work or publication, whether in hard copy, electronic or any other form or for commercial purposes.