Lithium Found in Morelos, but Exploitation Remains Far AwayBy Paloma Duran | Thu, 04/28/2022 - 11:28
The Mexican Geological Service (SGM) confirmed the existence of lithium deposits in Morelos, making it the 18th state on the list of potential states where the government could produce the white gold. Although the authorities said that some lithium deposits could be exploited this year, experts say that due to the lack of investment this prospect is unlikely.
The Head of the Ministry of Labor and Economic Development in Morelos, Ana Rodríguez, said that SGM experts have confirmed the existence of lithium deposits in the town of Ixtlilco in Tepalcingo, Morelos. Rodríguez stressed that with the new discovery the entire region will be able to benefit significantly. However, she also explained that this lithium deposit will only see production in 10 years, due to the lack of technology and methods required to extract the resource.“According to the Mexican Geological Service, 82 areas in 18 states have geological evidence of hosting lithium, including Morelos. What does this imply for Morelos? A very good opportunity to benefit in the future. For now, the important thing is to lay the foundations for the commercialization and generation of employment in the lithium industry,” Rodríguez said.
She added that although the benefits are expected to come in the long term, the Governor of Morelos, Cuauhtémoc Blanco, has already instructed state authorities to work with the federal government to begin developing a plan to take advantage of Morelos' lithium deposits. Blanco emphasized that this opportunity is unique because the municipality of Tepalcingo counts around 17,000 inhabitants, mostly working in agriculture. As such, lithium production could significantly develop the region’s economy and infrastructure.
According to SGM data, the states confirmed to have lithium deposits are Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacan, Morelos, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, Puebla, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Veracruz and Zacatecas. Although the authorities have not provided specific data on the deposits in each state, they said that some deposits could begin their production this year.
Despite the government's optimism, experts say the early exploitation of the deposits seems unlikely as there has been little investment in lithium exploration. Currently, the exploration budget of the SGM stands at MX$52 million (US$2.55 million) per year. Experts argue that Mexico may hold reserves of up to 1.9 million tonnes, equivalent to 2 percent of the lithium discovered around the world. However, the development of the lithium industry in Mexico requires significant amounts of money that the state alone will not be able to provide.