EconomyFinancialAMLO recognizes that he will need private initiative to...

AMLO recognizes that he will need private initiative to start LitioMx

More details about the new state-owned lithium company have started to emerge. This morning, President López Obrador pushed back the premise that Lithium for Mexico, created just a week ago with the publication of the decree, works merely with state capital and has assured that the new company will also have private investments. “It is public-private. It would not be enough for us to be only public, a lot of investment is required” , he said in his conference.

After the reform of the Mining Law, last April, the federal administration had maintained the premise that the new state-owned company –which has been compared in the speech with the CFE and Pemex– would be merely owned by the State and that private investments would remain outside of all activities related to the extraction and production of lithium, as approved verbatim with the regulatory change last February.

Analysts already doubted the economic and technical capacity of the State to carry out the formation of the new state company and the entire mineral production chain, beginning with prospective studies to determine how much lithium there is in the country and where. really in Mexican territory.

With this morning’s statement, the presidential speech regarding mining activities has changed course , after constant criticism of the mining industry, in which he has assured that the economic benefits of mineral extraction have historically remained only in the companies. “This is a plan that we have already discussed with President Biden, and I think it will have a lot of support, it is of interest to national and foreign investors, for investment funds,” said the president at the National Palace.

The federal administration had already given some signs about opening up to the private sector in the decree published last week. The document ensures that the new state company “will be able to associate with other public and private institutions” to manage and control the activities necessary for the production of lithium. But until now, no further details had been released.

Last year, and advised by former Bolivian President Evo Morales, the president announced that lithium extraction would remain completely in the hands of the State. Today in his conference he said that the Bolivian government is acting as an advisor to the lithium project.

And with this morning’s declaration, the Mexican project begins to move towards what Bolivia has chosen in recent months. The government of South American Luis Arce has decided to launch a pilot program for the parastatal Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos to carry out a series of rounds so that international private companies, with greater experience and resources, collaborate with the States to extract and produce the mineral. The decision was made by the presidential administration because, after more than a decade and large investments, Bolivian lithium production is still very low, despite the fact that the country has the largest lithium reserves in the world. “They are also making agreements with countries, with foreign governments for the exploitation of lithium,” López Obrador said this morning.

The new decision on Lithium for Mexico also brings the construction government closer to the mineral production format that other Latin American countries, such as Chile, have opted for. The newcomer to the presidency of Chile, Gabriel Boric, said at the beginning of his administration that he would create a national lithium company, but in recent weeks the idea has faded to give way to a new body focused on the development of technology to exploit the ore.

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