Mexico to Raise Its Lithium Prospects with Latin American Cooperation

Government of Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia and Chile are working together to create a lithium association to share their expertise to extract the battery metal, Mexico’s President Lopez Obrador said.

Lopez Obrador told in a press conference that the countries are already working on development, exploration, processing and new technologies.

Argentina, Bolivia and Chile sit atop the “lithium triangle”, a region that contains nearly 56% of the world’s lithium resources.

While Mexico has no commercial lithium production, it has potential deposits, which, if exploited, could make the country a major producer of the battery metal.

Mexico’s Congress has passed a bill last month that gives control of the strategic mineral to the state following Lopez Obrador’s request. Lopez Obrador said the government would review all existing private lithium contracts.

Close to a dozen foreign companies in Mexico hold active mining concessions, including permission to prospect for lithium. Its most advanced project, Bacanora Lithium, is controlled by Chinese firm Ganfeng Lithium.

The International Chamber of Commerce has argued that the law nationalizing the country’s future lithium industry violates trade obligations and could prove costly to the government if mining companies seek to compensate losses.

Lithium prices have been soaring since the start of last year as the world accelerates efforts to electrify transportation, driving big demand from electric vehicle (EV) makers and battery firms to secure supplies.

Chile’s Mining Minister Hernando said his country has already been participating in Latin American initiatives for cooperation in know how, science and technology and the government is willing to cooperate further.

Chile has the third largest lithium reserves globally and is the second biggest producer, while Bolivia has hardly any production despite having larger resources than any other country.

Argentina is the fourth top producer of lithium worldwide and is looking to speed up development, held back for years by tight regulation, high tax rates, inflation and currency controls.

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