The decree to declare lithium as a mineral that can only be exploited by the State has been published this Wednesday, just three days after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador sent the initiative to Congress.
The publication of the change to the Mining Law comes after the fast-track approval of the document in both chambers, where it did not find any large-scale difficulty in ending with a favorable result. In Deputies, it was approved without prior discussion in the committees and, although a debate did take place in the Senate, it was also brief and the document went up to the plenary session the same day it arrived in the chamber.
The document revolves around three main axes: the refusal to give more concessions; the prohibition of the participation of private capital in the exploitation and commercialization of the mineral; and the creation of a state company –which the president has compared to the CFE– that will lead the activities related to the mineral, considered strategic.
“The exploration, exploitation, benefit and use of lithium are exclusively the responsibility of the State, and will be carried out by the decentralized public body determined by the Federal Executive,” says the decree.
Despite the release of the document, the publication of the decree on the creation of the new company that will be in charge of the mineral is still pending, as well as the rest of the regulations that will clarify the details of the implementation of the legislation. The Official Gazette of the Federation indicates that the Executive will have 90 working days from tomorrow to issue the instrument for the creation of the new body under the Federal Law of Parastatal Entities.
The approval and publication of the document is given as part of an alternative plan that the president has to promote his vision in energy matters after his initiative to reform the Constitution did not reach the qualified majority in Deputies last Sunday. And meanwhile, its changes in electricity policy continue in limbo despite the decision of the Supreme Court to maintain some of the most critical modifications within the legal framework.
The publication of the change to the Mining Law comes amid a series of criticisms from the opposition and some specialists on the subject, who doubt the technological and financial capacity of the State to lead the exploitation of the mineral, in addition to issuing some statements of Violation of international trade treaties for adhering to a new activity reserved for the State after the signing of the commitments.