Mexico Could Establish A Lithium Alliance With ChileBy Paloma Duran | Fri, 01/14/2022 - 13:57
The newly elected president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, has been invited to visit Mexico and meet with Mexican authorities to formally establish a strategic alliance, where main opportunities of both countries, such as lithium, will be discussed.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard met with President Boric to discuss diplomatic affairs between the two countries. Last month, Boric won the Chilean presidential election and became the youngest democratically elected president. Both leaders agreed the two countries would benefit from a strategic alliance, once Boric’s government is set to begin in March.
Ebrard said the lithium issue was not specifically discussed, nevertheless, it will be an important topic of discussion, as both countries are major lithium players in Latin America. "The lithium business will surely be one of the priorities in our agenda between Chile and Mexico," said Ebrard.
Chile is the second largest lithium producer in the world after Australia. For many years, the lithium issue in Chile has been very controversial as some believe it will boost the country's development, while others believe that its production has negatively impacted the environment and has not brought wealth to citizens. During his election campaign, Boric said he was seeking to increase mining royalties and taxes, as well as create a national lithium company.
"Chile cannot make the historic mistake of privatizing resources again, and as a result, we will create the National Lithium Company. We will create new jobs in the deposits and a Chilean label for the product," said Boric.
Experts believe that the lithium alliance between the two countries is very likely to happen, since Boric's position is aligned with López Obrador's electricity reform, which seeks to limit private participation in the development of the lithium industry and create a state-owned company that will exploit the resource. The debate and vote on the Mexican reform was scheduled for 2021. However, the new deadline will be April 15, 2022.
López Obrador announced that in case legislators do not approve his electricity reform, there is another plan so that the exploitation of lithium is not left in private hands. “If the legislators decide to act against this initiative, which would be contrary to the national interest, we have a Plan B for lithium. We are already preparing in case this happens. Do not get excited if the reform is not approved, because lithium will remain in Mexico," Said the president. The new plan is being supervised by MORENA Deputy Lidia García Anaya and seeks to nationalize lithium without prohibiting concessions to the private sector. However, most of the profits must go to the Mexican state, reported MBN.