EconomyFinancialThe mining sector questions that LitioMx remains in the...

The mining sector questions that LitioMx remains in the hands of Sener and not the Mexican Geological Service

DURANGO. The creation of Lithium for Mexico “LitioMx” represents the last step taken by the Federal Government towards its objective of controlling the lithium value chain in the country. However, its creation has generated skepticism in the mining sector, due to the fact that, until now,

According to this new decentralized public body, it will be grouped in the sector coordinated by the Secretary of Energy (Sener). But specialists from the sector told Expansión, within the framework of the VII Durango Mining Congress 2022, that the new body should have remained in the hands of the Mexican Geological Service (SGM), which has the necessary technical knowledge to start with the exploitation of the mineral. .

Fernando Alanís, former president of the Mexican Mining Chamber (Camimex), told Expansión that, as knowledge about the so-called “white gold” is still scarce, decisions regarding its exploitation should be “more technical than political.” least in the start-up phase, otherwise, something similar to what happened with Mexican Uranium (Uramex) could happen, a decentralized public body of the federal government, with its own legal personality and assets, born in 1979, which ended up disappearing five more years late due, among other things, to the change in energy policy after the six-year change of administration.

“(The problem) is that political decisions are made, when technical decisions should be made. In Mexico, until now, we don’t know if there is commercial lithium,” Alanís explained.

“The first thing to do, as with any ore deposit, is to locate it; find out the prospective locations that have potential to be able to later carry out a study at a semi-detailed and detailed level, which allows knowing the potential that (each deposit) has and then be able to plan the exploitation. But we have to finish exploring,” Flor de María Harp, director of the SGM, told Expansión separately.

So far, only one lithium deposit has been confirmed in Mexico, in Bacadehuichi, Sonora, which is operated by the Chinese company Ganfeng Lithium; however, no quantity of the mineral contained in clays is yet commercialized. The specialists consulted assure that until now there is not a single clay deposit in the world that has an economically viable production, since they are very small concentrations of the mineral.

Luis Humberto Vázquez, president of the Association of Mining Engineers, Metallurgists and Geologists of Mexico, agreed with Alanís that there is little knowledge about lithium, in addition to the fact that LitioMx had to have been created to operate in conjunction with the SGM. “The government has a fairly strong technical ignorance regarding lithium. The one who has the closest approach to lithium is not even the Ministry of Economy, it is the Mexican Geological Survey, which has followed up on it,” he told Expansión.

The SGM has identified more than 80 probable regions that could contain the much desired mineral, and in October of last year it announced that it would invest 55.2 million pesos in studies to learn more about the mineral deposits in the country and its commercial viability.

Harp commented that the Federal Government has not had any approach to date with the institution, but considers that it will be necessary to generate synergies to speed up the exploration and exploitation of the mineral. “If you want to speed up (the process) it is necessary to invest more resources, not only financial, but also personnel,” he said. “We suppose that we would have to continue supporting them in this first stage, which is exploration,” he concluded.

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