Lawmakers in Mexico have passed an amendment to the mining law that will ban private companies from lithium exploration and extraction in the country. Under the new rules, a state-owned company, which has yet to be established, will have exclusive rights to mine one of the world’s most sought-after minerals.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who introduced the proposal, earlier called on lawmakers to protect Mexico’s lithium reserves and pave the way for setting up a company that would handle everything related to lithium in the country.
President says all existing lithium contracts will be reviewed
López Obrador has also said that all existing lithium contracts will be reviewed. According to Mining.com, a company called Bacanora Lithium, owned by China’s Genfeng Lithium, already has a lithium concession in Mexico’s northwest.
The Chinese company’s project is expected to start lithium production in 2023, with a projected output of 35,000 tons a year, the report adds.
The proposed state-run lithium company should be backed by local research facilities and experience from other countries
The proposed state-run lithium company should be backed by research facilities in the country and the experience learned from other countries, López Obrador told a press conference. The bill categorizes lithium as a “strategic mineral.”
EU has declared lithium a critical material as demand is set to surge
Lithium, a mineral used in batteries for electric cars and other devices, has been added to a list of critical raw materials by the European Union (EU) as demand is expected to increase dramatically in the coming years.
In Serbia, the government has halted a lithium project of Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto following protests over environmental concerns. However, activists fear the project might be allowed to resume.