AIMMGM Urges Mexico to Start Lithium Production
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AIMMGM Urges Mexico to Start Lithium Production

Photo by:   Alexander Schimmeck
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Fernando Mares By Fernando Mares | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Tue, 03/14/2023 - 08:47

A leading Mexican mining association urged Mexico’s government to ramp up studies so that the country can begin to produce lithium in the country.

Ramón Luna, President for Sonora, the Mexican Association of Mining Engineers, Metallurgists and Geologists (AIMMGM), said the country’s export operations and lithium studies must be restarted immediately to speed up the production of lithium. As of yet, Mexico has not produced any lithium. 

According to Luna, once lithium is extracted, it will generate economic benefits for the country. Nevertheless, it is difficult to determine the scale of such benefits as there is no clear data regarding the actual reserves Mexico has. “It is important to note that Sonora has a great potential for lithium exploration, nonetheless, it is also important to complement exploration with studies that detail the exact amount of lithium we have,” Luna added.

Luna said it is also important to define the role of the state-owned Litio para México (LitioMx) and the rules it will follow, adding that no feasibility study and environmental impact assessment (EIA) has been conducted yet. 

Sonora’s mining industry perceived the nationalization of lithium as one of the main factors that delayed the production of lithium, especially because some private companies already had a concession. 

Luna also concurred with Mexican industry insiders regarding the difference between the lithium found in the world, which is present in salt deposits, and Mexican lithium, mainly present in clay deposits such as the Bacadehuachi deposit, property of the China-based Ganfeng Lithium. Since clay deposits are more difficult to exploit due to their unique characteristics, Luna said it is crucial to restart studies and move to the production phase as fast as possible.

Luna said that companies have talked with the government but did not give a statement to AIMMGM. 

Among the companies that have talked to Mexican authorities is Advance Lithium, which has concessions to exploit lithium and potassium salt lakes in central Mexico. The company has the right to use a patent-pending lithium and potassium extraction method, enabling it to extract lithium from clay deposits. Advance is in talks with LitioMx representatives and expects to form a joint venture to speed up the extraction of lithium. “We believe we have the potential to be part of these efforts and working with LitioMx would be the quickest way to make that a reality,” said Allan Barry, CEO, Advance Lithium.

Photo by:   Alexander Schimmeck

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