Mexico plans to open lithium sector to private investors

This handout picture released by the Mexican Presidency press office shows Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez speaking during a press conference in Mexico City, on August 15, 2022. (Photo by Mexican Presidency / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY CREDIT “AFP PHOTO / MEXICAN PRESIDENCY” – NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AFP) – Mexico will open lithium exploitation to private investors because there are insufficient public funds to develop the recently nationalized sector, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday.

“Public funding alone would not be enough. Quite a lot of investment is required,” Lopez Obrador told reporters.

Opening the sector to private capital will “have a lot of support. It’s of interest to national and foreign investors,” he predicted.

In April, Congress approved a plan to put exploration and mining of the metal — a vital material in the production of batteries for electric cars, mobile phones and other technology — under state control.

The government said at the time that it would review eight lithium exploration concessions granted by previous governments to private companies, including a firm controlled by China’s Ganfeng Lithium.

Previously, the government had said that the concessions would remain valid as long as the companies made the necessary progress towards starting production.

The government has created a new state company called Litio para Mexico (Lithium for Mexico) that will be in charge of developing the sector.

Lithium is mined mostly in Australia and South America, while China dominates the supply chain.

Mexico’s deposits of the metal are mainly found in the northwestern state of Sonora, where drug traffickers and other organized crime gangs operate.

Litio para Mexico will be based in Sonora, which the government hopes will be a beneficiary of the shift to electric vehicles.


© Agence France-Presse


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