After his controversial electricity reform was rejected, the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) offered more details about the initiative he sent to Congress to nationalize lithium, which he hopes will be approved today or tomorrow.
“So that we nationalize lithium, that is clear, and that it is only used for the benefit of national development,” AMLO exposed in the “morning.”
“We are going to protect the lithium of Mexico, the lithium of our generation and of future generations”
López Obrador made this announcement after the Mexican Chamber of Deputies didn’t get the votes necessary to approve its constitutional reform, with only 275 votes in favor, 223 against and zero abstentions.
The initiative, which needed the votes of two thirds of the 498 deputies present because it was a modification to the Constitution, included a section for the Magna Carta to recognize the exclusive power of the State to exploit lithium.
“Yesterday the deputies traitors to the country, some I think have not even been aware of what they did, they do not know the importance of lithium and the ambition it arouses in the great powers because it is a strategic mineral for the development of the future”, argued AMLO.
López Obrador explained that his government already foresaw that the constitutional reform would not pass, so he “shielded himself” with a legal initiative that he sent last week to modify the Mining Law, which only requires a simple majority.
What does the reform contemplate to nationalize lithium?
The reform contemplates that in the case of lithium there will be no concessions or contracts because it will be “of the nation and administered directly by the Mexican State.”
The initiative has created controversy because the company with Chinese capital Bacanora Lithum now has a concession in Sonora, which would allow it to extract 35,000 tons of lithium carbonate per year.
This is considered one of the largest mineral deposits in the world, with 8.8 million equivalent tons with reserves that would last 250 years.
But López Obrador reiterated that his government will not allow foreigners to exploit lithium even if they have prior concessions.
Instead, there will be a State company “to exploit, explore, extract, process, industrialize and sell it”.
“We are going to protect the lithium of Mexico, the lithium of our generation and of future generations, of our children and our grandchildren,” he said.