The largest lithium deposits in the world were discovered in Mexico, as listed by Mining Technology.
The report indicates that the lithium mine located in Sonora is the largest deposit with proven and probable reserves of 243.8 million tons, containing 4.5 million tonnes of lithium-carbonate equivalent.
Construction of the mine was first announced by Sonora Governor Claudia Pavlovich in May 2018 and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020.
Production capacity in its first stage of operations is expected to be 15,500 tonnes per year of lithium carbonate, Mining Technology said, while capacity will double to 35,000 tonnes per year in a second stage.
The mine is being developed by Canada’s Bacanora Minerals and China’s Ganfeng Lithium.
Mexican Environment Secretary Víctor Manuel Toledo said that this would be Mexico’s “new oil.”
Potential lithium reserves have also been identified in Baja California, San Luis Potosí and Zacatecas.
The metal, Toledo reporters at the presidential press conference, is “the base not just of computers but also storage batteries” for cell phones and electric cars, among other products.
Therefore, “Mexico should be capable of making electric cars in public factories,” he said, adding that the secretariats of the Environment and Energy are currently analyzing that possibility with Mexico’s “best experts” in the field.
“We’re also one of the richest counties in solar radiation and we’re going to be a country that exports energy to the United States and Latin America,” Toledo added.
“The two most important areas in Latin America for solar radiation are the northeast of Mexico, the deserts, and the border between Chile and Bolivia . . . We’re going to be a solar energy power.”
In recent days, members of the Sonora government have met with the Chinese capital mining company Ganfeng Lithium, who are looking to settle in the region to invest in that area.
“They have more than seven thousand employees and are very interested in coming in January, they come on a commercial mission to Sonora, because they are interested in being here seeing the possibility of installing to set up a battery factory,” said Jorge Vidal, the Economy Secretary of Sonora said.
Another application is in the military industry, since the use of lithium oxyhalide batteries were selected for use in air defense missiles and other programs in the United States.
A large pharmacological market has been potentiated, since the incorporation of metallic lithium and some compounds are used as catalysts in the production of analgesics, anti-cholesterol agents, antihistamines, contraceptives, sleep inducers, some types of steroids, tranquilizers, vitamin A and other products.
This puts Mexico in a very beneficial position regarding the future, since these technologies are in the middle of technological and economic progress currently.
At the same time, the situation in the country could be exploited by foreign actors, as Mexico has serious issues with its internal security due to the volatile situation with the cartels.
Economically, due to US tariffs, and various disputes with the United States, namely regarding the wall, as well as illegal migration, puts it in a position that its resources could be abused via US pressure.
Recently, US President Donald Trump has said that he is considering whether to designate the Mexican cartels as foreign terrorist organizations, which would also provide the US military with a precedent of a possible deployment of US troops along the border, and even beyond it, with the pretext of combating “terrorism.”
US aside, multinational corporations are also sure to set their sights on Mexico’s lithium deposits and are unlikely to have missed the resource’s importance for the future.
A protest against the government is also not out of the question, after all it even goes as far as to support “former” Bolivian President Evo Morales, who according to the OAS and the United States is “a villain.”
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