Mexico’s president opposes concession to foreign companies to exploit lithium in Sonora

Published: Thursday, January 27, 2022 - 3:17pm
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Mexico’s president says he opposes concessions that will allow foreign companies to mine a massive lithium deposit in Sonora.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has long said he wants to bring the country’s lithium and other natural resources under state control, and intends to do so with an energy reform currently awaiting congressional approval.

However, he previously said existing mining concessions — including for one of the world’s largest lithium deposits in Sonora — would be respected.

But this week, he seemed to cast doubt on that promise, accusing the agency that made the concessions — the Federal Commission for Economic Competition (Cofece) — of being a holdover from “corrupt neoliberal” predecessors, during a daily press conference Thursday.

"We do not want lithium to be handled by foreign powers. Not by the United States, nor China nor Russia," he said. "The lithium belongs to Mexicans."

And he called the approval of a transfer of the Sonoran mining concession to Chinese company Gangeng an example of the "perversity" of agencies like Cofece.

Mexican legislators are expected to make a decision on the president’s energy reform in April.

Fronteras Sonora