For the original communities of the salt flats of the Argentine Puna, salt is rooted in the deeper in their identity, in the inheritance of their ancestors and the fight for their territory.
For them, salt is not a resource, but a living being, which has its own life cycles and they must be respected.
The growing global demand for lithium, added to the deepening of the extractive model in Argentina, generate strong impacts on the communities of the salt flats, who see threatened their way of life and their worldview. From the eyes and voices of different members of the original communities of the region, we will try to show how their lives and culture are and will be affected.
Lithium is one of the key inputs for renewable energy storage batteries (electronic devices, electric vehicles). In order to reduce the use of fossil fuels, lithium becomes a mineral of great importance. But like oil, Lithium is a finite and non-renewable resource.
The growing global demand for lithium, added to the deepening of the extractive model in
Argentina, generate strong impacts on the communities of the salars, who see their way of life and worldview threatened.
The countries of the “lithium triangle” (Argentina, Bolivia and Chile) together possess 80% of the world’s lithium reserves in its salt flats. This generated great global interest in territories of the Puna where the worldview of the indigenous communities that live there since ancient times, collides with the repositioning of the region in the value chain of a product of growing and strategic importance.
Little is known about the environmental impact that the massive extraction of lithium will generate in the salt flats, nor how it will affect the life and culture of the communities of the region.
This documentary proposes to investigate the different impacts generated by the industry of lithium extraction in the Salares de la Puna and highlight the cultural tensions, political, economic and symbolic that such intervention generates, as well as the role of the State in the face of these conflicts.
The salt flats of the Puna Argentina, located in the provinces of Catamarca, Salta and Jujuy, They harbor valuable biodiversity and are a source of life for the communities in the area.
However, these are threatened by the great interest received by lithium, particularly as a key input for the production of batteries. For approximately a decade, but more frequently in the last two years, since the elimination of mining retentions, the lithium mining projects in the northwest region of the country multiplied, and it is estimated that there are around 42 projects in different degrees of execution.
This documentary puts into discussion aspects generally ignored in the debate on the lithium. Only by substantially integrating the social and environmental dimensions can one expect that lithium can dialogue with debates on sustainable development.