Reform to the Mining Law Will Be Voted Today
After President López Obrador's energy reform was rejected for not reaching two thirds of the votes in Congress, the president sent a reform to change the Mining Law with the aim of nationalizing lithium and other strategic minerals. The new reform, requiring only a simple majority, is expected to be discussed and voted on today.
Yesterday the Chamber of Deputies announced the rejection of López Obrador's energy reform, which sought to strengthen and favor the CFE over private companies and leave the exploitation of lithium in the hands of the government. In total, there were 275 votes in favor, 223 against and 0 abstentions. Although there were more votes in favor, the reform was rejected because it did not reach a qualified majority, which requires the support of two-thirds of the Chamber. Nevertheless, MORENA announced it has already sent a new reform to change the Mining Law to ensure state control over lithium.
The new reform to the Mining Law seeks to guarantee the self-determination and energy sovereignty of Mexico through the nationalization of lithium and other strategic minerals. The reform proposes not to grant concessions, contracts, licenses, permits or authorizations to any private company interested in lithium. In addition, it commissions the Mexican Geological Service to find deposits rich in lithium and create a method to extract the mineral as soon as possible. Previously, the government said that companies with existing lithium concessions would not be affected. However, experts say the new changes will cripple their projects, as permits will be more difficult to obtain.
Yesterday, the members of the Political Coordination Board of the Chamber of Deputies announced that the Mining Law will be discussed and voted on this Monday. The prompt vote comes after deputies from the ruling parties classified the reform as an urgent issue to resolve.
Previously, López Obrador explained that unlike the energy reform, the Mining Law reform does not require a two-thirds majority in Congress, but rather a simple majority. As a result, it is expected to be approved as the government already occupies the necessary seats in parliament. Yesterday, after the results of the energy reform vote were made public, López Obrador said that he was not worried about the issue of lithium since his secondary plan will guarantee the state’s control over lithium.
For their part, leaders of opposition parties have announced that they will not support the new lithium initiative without first considering the opinion of experts. “Supposedly, a legal reform regarding lithium will be voted on shortly. We want to ask the government to give us the opportunity to debate it. We need to know the opinion of different specialists to be able to vote in an informed manner. There is no rush,” said Marko Cortés, President, PAN.