Despite the fact that in 2022 the Mexican government reserved the rights to explore, exploit and commercialize the lithium that exists in the national territory, it recently opened the door to its commercial partners the United States and Canada so that they can participate in future projects; However, emphasized a specialist, this does not imply a
indulgence mineral, but rather a strategy to strengthen the value chain.
Last week, Alfonso Durazo, governor of Sonora, a state that presumably has the largest lithium reserves in the country, reported that there is an agreement so that the exploitation of the so-called white gold is done preferably with those companies that are part of the commercial block of which It is part of Mexico, that is, North America.
The foregoing, after it became known that the assistant secretary of the State Department for Western Hemisphere affairs of the US, Brian Nichols, offered to associate Mexico, together with Canada, to extract lithium at low cost; which is in addition to the statements of November 2022 by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on a call for companies from the US and Canada to participate in the construction of infrastructure to extract the mineral.
The participation of the US in lithium projects is budgeted from the so-called
Sonora Sustainable Energies Plan which was officially presented at the twenty-seventh Conference of the United Nations Organization on Climate Change last November. The document contains guidelines to promote lithium mining activity in Sonora, gas liquefaction, the modernization of the port of Guaymas (to export lithium), as well as the Puerto Peñasco solar plant.
The private initiative experience
Therefore, a few days ago the governor of Sonora explained that the objective is for the United States to provide the experience of the private initiative, with the aim of making lithium production cheaper; However, he clarified that there will be conditions that the companies must comply with, such as that the staff be Mexican and that they comply with everything related to the payment of taxes.
Violeta Núñez Rodríguez, a researcher at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, emphasized that the Mexican government’s commitment is to strengthen the value chain, that is, from exploration to manufacturing lithium batteries, which from her point of view is not a mineral delivery model to other nations, otherwise it would not have been necessary to reform the Mining Law and grant concessions to the public company that has been created.
On February 19, President López Obrador will announce the first lithium concessions in Sonora to the state-owned company Litio para México (LitioMx), which was created on August 22 and is now part of the so-called Plan Sonora.
Precisely in Sonora is the largest lithium deposit in the country, which is currently in the hands of the Chinese company Gangfeng Lithium.
According to the US Geological Survey, Mexico has 1.7 million tons of lithium reserves, 3 percent of those in the world, this is without counting the four fields that the government has reserved through the Mexican Geological Service, two of which they are huge in Sonora, another in Puebla and one more in Jalisco; to which is added that there are demonstrations of lithium in 82 locations in the country.