De Luna Lithium Battery announced that it will invest significantly in a lithium battery plant in Sonora, hoping to join the budding lithium value chain in Mexico. The company said a key factor in consolidating the project has been its close relationship with state authorities.
De Luna Lithium Battery expects to invest US$80 million to develop a lithium-ion battery factory for the automotive sector, which will generate 900 new jobs in Hermosillo, Sonora. The company noted that the batteries for electric vehicles have a variety of ranges that could go from 200km to 600km per charge.
The company expects to start production in 2023, reaching a volume of 20,000 units in the first year, which will then increase based on demand. The project will be the company's first scalable plant.
Giovanni De Luna, CEO, De Luna Lithium Battery, highlighted that his continuing dialogue with Alfonso Durazo, the Governor of Sonora and Head of state lithium player LitioMX, as well as with Armando Villa, the state’s Minister of Economy, has been key to the consolidation of the plant. “They talked to us. They convinced us to go to Sonora: they provided us with space, which is about 15,000m2 in an industrial park that is being developed in the city of Hermosillo,” De Luna told Expansión. He also emphasized that although the government has not announced the start-up of the plant, it will be operational this month.
What Is Happening With Mexico’s Lithium Industry?
In April 2022, the Mexican government nationalized lithium exploration and exploitation, backed by the Sonora Plan, which aims to transform Sonora into a clean energy hub. To make the plan happen, the government announced an investment of over US$48 billion to strengthen the Sonora-US supply chain, promote the manufacturing of batteries and electric vehicles and construct clean energy power plants, including Latin America’s biggest solar plant in Puerto Peñasco.
Following the nationalization of lithium production, the mining industry wondered whether the government would withdraw concessions or seek out agreements with the players holding them. According to López Obrador, the government has chosen the latter option, although he said that agreements must be reached within the new framework of the state-owned company in charge of exploiting lithium, LitioMx. The president added that the government’s lawyers are analyzing the issue and will talk to these companies.