Toyota participa en la compra de una mina de litio para autoabastecerse de materia prima para baterías

Toyota participa en la compra de una mina de litio para autoabastecerse de materia prima para baterías

29 septiembre 2012

Toyota ha adquirido una mina de litio en el norte de Argentina, para asegurarse el abastecimiento de materia prima para las baterías de sus coches híbridos, dando inicio a lo que seguramente será una floreciente industria, de cara a un futuro en donde los coches híbridos podrían ser los claros dominadores de las energías alternativas.

El depósito de litio de la cual sacará provecho la compañía, a nombre de la casa comercial Toyota Tsusho Corporation, está ubicada en la norteña provincia argentina de Jujuy. Los estudios de factibilidad para conocer el verdadero potencial del sitio fueron ejecutados por la misma Toyota, mientras que la mayoría accionaria de la nueva sociedad estará en poder de la australiana Orocobre, que retendrá 66,5%; la provincial Jujuy Energía y Minería Sociedad del Estado (JEMSE) será dueña del restante 8,5%.

Si bien la construcción de la mina comenzará este año, comenzará a operar en febrero de 2014 con una producción calculada de 17.500 toneladas anuales de este metal, la materia prima básica en la fabricación de baterías de coches híbridos, lo que equivale aproximadamente a la totalidad del consumo anual de Japón. Toyota Tsusho Corporation recibirá la producción íntegra de litio, que suministrará a Toyota Motors y casi seguramente a otras compañías automotrices.

Esta es la primera vez que Toyota se embarca en actividades de extracción de litio, si bien ha querido hacerlo durante años, en vista del avance que han tenido en el mercado los vehículos híbridos. De momento, la inversión no ha sido demasiado cuantiosa para lo que cabría esperarse de una empresa de esta envergadura, ya que Toyota ha corrido con los gastos de prospección, menos de 40 millones de euros.

Tanto Toyota como el resto de sus socios, recibirán préstamos garantizados por el gobierno japonés, de parte de un banco privado en Japón, por lo que hay una buena seguridad de que estos yacimientos le otorguen a Toyota una ventaja adicional por sobre la competencia; además, la marca japonesa bien podría convertirse en proveedor de baterías para tablets, móviles, notebooks y cámaras digitales, que también usan litio en sus baterías. Tal es así, que se estima que el préstamo se pagará en solo tres años.

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