Jump after lithium. Quo Vadis?

Jump after lithium. Quo Vadis?
Jump after lithium. Quo Vadis?

Our beloved province, unlike most of the provinces in the country, has the best employment rate (measures the proportion of employed people in relation to the economically active population). It then measures how available labor resources are used.

The rise of lithium mining especially, and copper with Taca Taca, make up a job vacuum that has a positive impact on provincial statistics. But… there is always a but… we are in the construction period. With greater or lesser dynamics, the projects are in the construction phase of plants and facilities, which requires personnel in the thousands.

This is temporary, then during normal operation, jobs are reduced to dozens, or at best hundreds.

Lithium will continue to be extracted for many years (as long as the price is right), but jobs are going to decrease, and fast! Like any construction, once the work is finished, look for another one.

The key would be to implement good risk management practices (decrease in mining employment) during the formation of the Lithium bubble. That is not being done.

Resources are concentrated on training more miners, more technicians, who will end up working on projects in other latitudes. Or in San Juan, where there are several copper and metal mining projects.

The capital markets do not have Argentina in their sights to invest.

The highly desirable FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) does not come looking for us to produce vegetables, fruits, livestock or any of the activities that are the basis of our current economy.

The guns are aimed at mining, which is in the project maturation phase, and then what?

The fact that Milei meets with the giants of computing, AI, networks and communications and gets Mark Zuckerberg from META, Sundar Pichai from Google, Timothy Cook from Apple, Elon Musk who expressed on the networks “I recommend investing in Argentina” is more than desirable. Applause.

But what will we do in a few months from now when lithium miners start returning people to the job market? Are we going to wait like Central American countries for workers to send money remittances from other countries?

Agricultural/agroindustrial productive activities have seasonal labor demands, but they are defined as permanent workers with discontinuous benefits. Also in fruit growing there is a lot to do, and at that point the demand for labor is all year round, with peaks in the harvest.

We already have banana production that competes with imported ones. That’s a lot of permanent labor. If Salta replants the 8,000 hectares it once had, there would be more than 16,000 jobs.

Recovering the lost citrus farming would take a long time and it is not easy to look so many years ahead until you reach the break point and start earning money.

There is a lot of talk about poverty and hunger, but it is still difficult to find labor in the farms or in tobacco. You don’t see queues asking for work in factories either. There is no increase in work orders. People are asking for plans and food URGENT!

In Oran, border traffic is increasing exponentially. Both bringing things that are half price, as well as “suspicious” packages. Brazilian iron and wire are worth a third, Chinese covers for cars, motorcycles and trucks too. Queues of kilometers of vehicles bringing things. New occupation: bundle pins.

What we need is to strengthen our traditional productive base, with more value added at source, reveal real work needs and connect with potential employers.

And the mega works? Since “there is no money” private financing should be sought, or from international institutions, to, for example, regulate the Bermejo basin with the two projects, Cambarí (Bolivia) and Arrazayal/Las Pavas (Argentina) for hydroelectric generation and a future navigable canal next to the Bermejo that would make transportation cheaper. Old projects of large works with great projection in our province.

Does anyone look at this problem? “Res non verba” (deeds, not words).

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