On Tuesday, the Mexican Senate approved a reform to the national mining law that confers the State an exclusive power over lithium exploitation.
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Passed by 87 votes in favor, 20 votes against, and 16 abstentions, the reform recognizes lithium as a national patrimony. It also prevents concessions and private contracts for this mineral's exploitation and establishes the creation of a State enterprise for this purpose.
"Lithium belongs to Mexicans, not to transnational corporations," legislator Hamlet Amalguer said and lamented that 150,000 hectares of land were granted to private companies for exploiting this metal during President Enrique Peña-Nieto’s administration (2012-2018).
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) issued this reform proposal to Congress after a constitutional reform to the electricity sector did not reach the support of two-thirds of the lawmakers required to be approved.
“The far-right lawmakers refused to support this initiative to protect the interests of transnational corporations," AMLO acknowledged, stressing that his administration will develop technology to take the best advantage of lithium exploits.
Used to manufacture rechargeable batteries for computers, mobiles, and tablets, lithium is widely marketable for its capacity for storing and transferring a lot of energy.
Currently, Mexico contains the world’s largest lithium deposit in the Sonora region, where over 243 million tons of this metal are located.