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Australian lithium producers facing unexpected Argentina export tariff

Australian lithium companies operating in Argentina are facing an unexpected 8% tariff on export revenue, following Argentine President Mauricio Macri's plans to impose export taxes, The Australian reported Sept. 5.

The South American country previously announced it will amend export taxes as part of a raft of fiscal measures aimed at calming investors amid a sharp slide in the Argentine peso. The administration of President Macri expects to begin collecting the temporary export tax later this week.

An additional 68 billion Argentine pesos in revenue will be raised from the new taxes this year, and 280 billion pesos in 2019. They will end in December 2020, Finance Minister Nicolas Dujovne said in the report.

Shares in Orocobre Ltd. went into a trading halt before the market opened following the news of the export taxes, while shares of Lake Resources N.L. and Galaxy Resources Ltd. fell 6% and 3.7%, respectively. Argosy Minerals Ltd. stayed trading but said it was seeking more information.

In addition to the export tax, Argentina will also scrap several ministries from the federal government in an austerity push to reduce its budget deficit. The measures come as the country heads into talks with the International Monetary Fund over the early release of bailout funds from a three-year, US$50 billion standby agreement reached in June.

As of Sept. 4, US$1 was equivalent to 39.27 Argentine pesos.