AMLO signs decree to make Mexico owner of lithium
MEXICO – Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador signed a decree nationalizing lithium, a strategic mineral for the development of new technologies, in order to make its exploitation exclusive to the government.
This measure is complemented by a reform approved in April 2022 that considers lithium as property of the nation.
"What we are doing is nationalizing lithium so that foreigners cannot exploit it," said the president in the municipality of Bacadéhuachi, in the state of Sonora.
This locality concentrates the largest lithium deposits and has been chosen by the president to launch an ambitious program called Plan Sonora to exploit this mineral.
It is worth mentioning that the previous government had granted a concession to Bacanora Lithum, an English company that became the property of a Chinese company and whose contract is being reviewed by the government.
According to the Ministry of Energy, lithium has been detected in only 23 countries and Mexico is estimated to be in tenth place in terms of reserves.
However, according to energy experts, it is still unknown whether there is enough of this mineral for its exploitation and whether it will be economically profitable and environmentally friendly.
Lithium, which is essential for the development of electric car batteries and other technologies, is mainly mined in South America and Australia, with China dominating the supply chain.