Mexico to Join Latin American Lithium Producing Countries Meeting
In his daily press conference, President López Obrador announced that Mexico will participate in a meeting with Latin American lithium-producing countries to exchange experiences and knowledge in the mineral’s exploitation. This comes after the reform to the Mining Law, which left the mineral almost entirely in the hands of the State.
“We will have a meeting with countries that have big lithium deposits. We have established communications with the governments of Argentina, Chile and Bolivia. We are thinking of working together to make a lithium plan,” said López Obrador.
According to the president, the experiences of countries like Bolivia, with important lithium reserves, will help the country to develop its state-owned company, which will be in charge of exploiting the mineral.
“We have to pool the experiences [these countries] have; it will help Mexico. There are countries where lithium has been nationalized, like Bolivia and Mexico. This is not the case in Argentina and Chile, but their governments have an interest in this meeting, it will help a lot to define the characteristics of the Mexican company that will manage lithium,” the president said.
The president added that probably today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will have more information on the joint venture the four countries could create. He also added that lithium exploitation depends on the government’s economic capacity to assign resources to the mineral.
The scheme under which the national lithium company will work is yet to be defined. The president added that different schemes are being analyzed and it will be decided if it is going to be fully independent or if it will be related to the Ministry of Finance, Economy or CFE. The president said that either Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard or Minister of Economy Tatiana Clouthier will inform the selected scheme.
This announcement comes a week after Congress approved the Mining Law reform, which bans private companies to explore and exploit lithium and other strategic minerals in the country. The reform also commissions the National Geological Survey to find deposits rich in lithium and to create a method to extract the mineral. After that, the president announced that the already granted concessions will be revised.
Specialists have questioned the government's capacity for lithium exploitation, arguing that the activity requires large investments and is a long-term activity. Some others highlighted that Mexico is late in the lithium race and that in the future, minerals such as nickel and cadmium could substitute lithium in the manufacturing of batteries.