Mexico, Bolivia Aim to Be Leaders in Lithium-Powered ProductsBy Paloma Duran | Wed, 08/10/2022 - 12:22
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrad announced that the governments of Mexico and Bolivia have initiated efforts to cooperate beyond the exploitation of lithium. The governments and their companies will cooperate along the entire value chain, including the manufacturing of batteries and electric vehicles. However, some experts say that Mexico would benefit more from joining forces with different, additional key lithium-producing countries.
Ebrard announced that during his meeting with Bolivian President Luis Arce and Foreign Minister Rogelio Mayta, the two countries decided to exchange key information so that their state-owned companies can work together in the lithium industry. “It is not just about their exploitation. We do not want to sell lithium as a raw material, but rather that want our countries to participate in the processing and manufacturing of batteries and key innovations,” said Ebrard.
Some experts say that Mexico's alliance with Bolivia is important since there is a risk that without an expert guide, Mexico will lose out on opportunities in the blooming market. “If we do not react quickly, we run the risk of losing this opportunity that is presented to us, because in just one year, the price of lithium carbonate has risen more than 400 percent compared to the previous year. Let us not forget that,” highlighted Mining Consultant Hector Cordoba in an interview with Voz de América.
Ebrard announced that both countries are also expected to develop more lithium-powered innovations like electric vehicles. Batteries and electric cars would begin to be manufactured on scale in 2033 through the Bolivian company Quantum Morelos and the Mexican Industrial Power.
Latin America is increasingly becoming an attractive manufacturing option for lithium products because of its key resources and strategic global location. Bolivia, Argentina and Chile hold 64 percent of the global lithium reserves and when considering the Mexican, Brazilian and Peruvian estimated reserves, the percentage increases to over 68 percent, as reported by MBN.
Nevertheless, Armando Alatorre, President, CIMMGM, previously told MBN that Mexico's choice to be guided by the Bolivian government is a poor one as that country's experience in producing this element is extremely limited. Alatorre emphasized that while Bolivia has substantial potential for lithium development, with about 8.9 million metric tons (22 percent of the world reserves), it has not reported a single ton of production this century.
“The question for Mexico could be: Why turn to Bolivia and not the others countries or a combination of them? Why not seek advice and investment from China regarding lithium-carbonate production as well as lithium batteries for plug-in vehicles? That could be a win-win situation for Mexico's mining, chemical, electrical, and, eventually, automotive industries,” said Alatorre.