US, Canada to Develop Mexico’s Lithium Infrastructure
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US, Canada to Develop Mexico’s Lithium Infrastructure

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Paloma Duran By Paloma Duran | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Wed, 11/16/2022 - 16:43

President López Obrador announced that the Mexican government will launch a tender for US and Canadian companies to participate in the development of the country's lithium infrastructure. Foreign investment is expected to become part of the Sonora Plan, which aims to establish a competitive lithium industry in Mexico by building up its supply chain.

The Mexican government proposed that the country's lithium infrastructure should be built y by international companies, as the USMCA Agreement has made this possible. The president explained that he expects a response from his Canadian and American counterparts in the next month or two. However, in the meantime, the first stage of the plan will be carried out, which has an expected investment of MX$50 billion (US$2.5 million). López Obrador explained that if the countries accept the proposal, the investment for the first stage could double.

“The plan will be to meet with our US and Canadian counterparts every 15 days to discuss key issues. We will ensure that the benefits of lithium do not leave the country. We want lithium resources to stay in the country to boost various industries and be a constant source of employment," said President López Obrador.

López Obrador stressed that the entry of foreign companies into the Mexican lithium industry will depend on whether the investment comes through a loan, and if the US government establishes low rates for these loans. In addition, López Obrador emphasized that the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) must also be the main owner of the lithium exploitation infrastructure.

Although the president did not specify what type of infrastructure is planned, he commented that battery plants will be built so that the automotive sector can benefit and be part of the electric vehicle boom. In addition, he announced that five solar power plants will be needed to generate the energy required for the industry.

Last week, the Sonora Plan was presented at the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP27) in Egypt. Among the plan’s main objectives are lithium extraction in Sonora and gas liquefaction for export, as well as developing the solar plant in Puerto Guaymas and Puerto Peñasco. These efforts are expected to be replicated in different states until they can generate 40 percent of the energy in Mexico.

Mexican authorities said the Sonora plan is expected to become a global benchmark for public efforts to speed up the energy transition, reduce environmental footprints and turn the state into a source of green jobs. In addition, Sonora is expected to become a leader in the production of electronic components and semiconductors in the coming years thanks to its lithium reserves.

Photo by:   Kumpan Electric

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