Private Companies Could Produce Lithium Via Opposition Proposal
On Monday, opposition party leaders represeting the ‘Go for Mexico’ coalition put forward their counterproposal to the president’s new constitutional energy reform. The proposal consists of 12 key points, which differ significantly from the president's proposal. The lithium issue especially stands out, as the resource would not be nationalized.
During a press conference at Mexico City’s Hilton Hotel, attended by Marko Cortés, President, PAN; Alejandro Moreno, National Leader, PRI and Jesús Zambrano, Coordinator, PRD, the leaders of the opposition block said that lithium could be produced by the private sector. The resource, according to their proposal, should still be considered the state’s property, but its exploitation should follow the same rules as oil production does since the 2014 Energy Reform. This entails exploration and production rounds, in which the state will keep part of the earnings.
Under this proposal, companies could participate in tenders like the ones carried out during Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration. According to the opposition, their plan is to vote against López Obrador’s reform and then propose their new plan, which among other points will establish access to electricity as a constitutional right.
“It is a resounding no to the regressive reform that was presented, without pretending to move a comma. The coalition has a professional, modern and innovative proposal that will truly serve the state and that will be presented once that reform is dismissed,” Alejandro Moreno, National Leader, PRI said.
According to Go for Mexico’s proposal, guiding the energy transition and leading the fight against climate change will be the government’s responsibility, not CFE’s, therefore involving public, private and social entities. In past days, President López Obrador called on PRI representatives to vote in favor of his reform project, urging them to remember their “revolutionary and nationalistic” past.
López Obrador’s reform rejects the participation of private companies in lithium exploitation. “Tenders for lithium and other strategic minerals will not be issued, except for the existing mining concessions. There are existing precedents, duly endorsed by the Ministry of Economy, regarding lithium exploration,” said the president.
Prior to the press conference, the Environment Commission of the Chamber of Deputies rubber-stamped the president’s reform proposal to move the debate toward the parliamentary floor.