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Las Salinas Grandes — Mostly local  tourists flock to Las Salinas to take photos near the evaporation ponds and walk on the vast crystallized salt-floor, what feels like a different planet. But the mining of lithium beneath the salt in the region has caused an uproar by Indigenous communities living in the surrounding provinces because of its threats to farming and in-ground water levels. Recently, the government granted the communities the right to have a say in what happens to their land, but the battle between them and the industry is ongoing. 


A second without sunglasses is almost blinding, dipping a hand in the tempting aquamarine pools almost crystalizes your skin. The only way to get here is by car or by following a man in the streets of the village of Purmamarca who calls out “salina! las salinas!” collecting people and driving them in buses through the winding 2 hour Chañi mountain-pass. The origins of Las Salinas that span 212 square kilometers at an altitude of over 3,000 meters date back to between 5 and 10 million years BC, now the region is not only being used for lithium brine but also sodium and potassium. 


While traveling through Jujuy, the anti-lithium mining slogans graffitied in nearby towns is apparent, but Las Salinas and it’s otherworldly allure remains to be a popular tourist attraction in Argentina. 

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