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Mexico nationalizes lithium production

Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny - Reporter at The European Times News

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DISCLAIMER: Information and opinions reproduced in the articles are the ones of those stating them and it is their own responsibility. Publication in The European Times does not automatically means endorsement of the view, but the right to express it.

Mexico has taken a step towards the nationalization of its lithium, the main metal for the production of electric batteries, which should replace internal combustion engines in electric vehicles as part of the fight against climate change, AFP reports. Lithium is part of Mexico’s legacy, which excludes any new concessions to private companies, according to a reform of the mining law passed by a majority of left-wing lawmakers Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Previous governments have granted eight concessions, which remain in force. Mexico has large reserves of lithium in the northern state of Sonora, announced in 2019 the specialized site Mining Technology. The projects are currently in the research phase. Approved by 298 votes in favor by a total of 500 deputies, the law must also be voted on by the Senate, where the ruling National Renewal Movement (MORENA) also has a majority.

Meanwhile, the House of Deputies on Sunday rejected a constitutional reform aimed at strengthening the state’s role in the electricity market. The lithium bill was passed by a simple majority, while constitutional reform required two-thirds of the votes the Mexican president did not have among lawmakers. The electricity market reform project has alarmed the United States, which has warned of endless litigation under the Mexico-US-Canada free trade agreement. President Lopez Obrador said opposition lawmakers who voted against the reform had committed an “act of betrayal” of Mexico.

Meanwhile, Chile and Argentina have cut off lithium supplies to Russia. This was stated by Deputy Director of the Department of Metallurgy at the Ministry of Industry and Trade Vladislav Demidov, UNIAN reported. “Lithium raw material is not extracted in Russia, it comes in the form of lithium carbonate mainly from Chile, Argentina, China and Bolivia. Supplies from Chile and Argentina have been suspended, only Bolivia has the opportunity to obtain the raw material,” Demidov said.

Russia has lithium processing facilities to meet domestic needs and export supplies. The problem is serious, because if Bolivia stops deliveries, there will be nowhere to get the raw material, Demidov added. He proposes to speed up the issuance of licenses to companies capable of extracting lithium in Russia. Lithium and its compounds and alloys are critical to the technological development of many industries in aviation, metallurgy, microelectronics, chemistry and others. Lithium is the most important for the production of rechargeable batteries.

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