Mexico’s Energy Ministry Set to Take Over Lithium Reserves

Mexican President Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday that he will sign a decree on Saturday to hand over the concession of all the country’s lithium reserves to the energy ministry. Lopez Obrador had already nationalized the country’s reserves of the battery metal in April last year, as he hopes Mexico to cash in on the surging demand for it from electric vehicle (EV) makers and battery manufacturers.

“(On Saturday) I will sign the decree to deliver the concession of the country’s lithium, all reserves, to the ministry of energy,” Lopez Obrador said during his daily news conference.

As Mexico has not yet been able to commercialize its lithium reserves, there has been skepticism whether the country could extract it without private know-how.

To date, Mexican lithium deposits identified in early exploration efforts reveal mostly clay-based ones, which are considered as much more difficult and costly to develop.

Mexico is open to partnerships, but any future joint venture between its new state-run company, LitioMx, and private producers must give the government a majority stake, company General Director Taddei said.

Lopez Obrador created LitioMx, formally known as Litio Para Mexico, by decree last August.

China’s Ganfeng Lithium controls Mexico’s most advanced lithium project, Bacanora Lithium, located in the state of Sonora in the country’s north.

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