Mexican lawmakers approved a plan to nationalize the vital lithium, Which is involved in the production of batteries for electric cars, mobile phones and other technology products.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador presented a proposal to reform the mining law. With the aim of governmental companies exploiting this mineral exclusively without the participation of the private sector.
Yesterday, the Senate approved The reform plan, by 87 votes to 20, A day after it was approved in the House of Representatives, According to “French”.
Lopez Obrador told reporters that eight concessions awarded to prospect for lithium will be scrutinized to see if the companies are following the legal process.
He referred to a contract with the “Bakanura” company, Controlled by China’s Ganfeng Lithium Corporation, as this contract needs to be audited.
The government had previously announced that the concessions would remain in effect as long as the companies were making the necessary progress towards starting production.
Lopez Obrador said, who pledged in his program before his election as president 2018 to change the “neoliberal” economic model in Mexico, “We will develop the technology to exploit or take possession of the stock, But lithium belongs to us.”
He added, That “his predecessor, Enrique Pena Nieto, granted concessions to explore for lithium metal in lands covering an area of about 150,000 hectares.” Mexico has not started producing lithium yet. The economic feasibility and environmental impact of its mining are also still unclear.
Jaime Gutierrez said, President of the Mexican Chamber of Mining, “We’re not sure we have enough lithium to exploit,” he said. “This reform is not necessary,” he told El Heraldo radio. It creates a lot of uncertainty for investors in this sector.”
Australia and South America are the largest producers of lithium. While China dominates supply chains. The mineral is mainly available in Mexico in the northern state of Sonora.
Jesus Ramirez said, A spokesperson for Lopez Obrador, In a tweet on Twitter, “Lithium will be the exclusive property of the state, In the interest of the people, our resources will be secure.”
The lithium plan was initially included in constitutional reforms introduced to strengthen the state-owned electricity company. But it failed to gain enough votes to pass it on Sunday. While constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority of lawmakers, Reforming laws such as the Mining Law requires only a simple majority to pass it.