The lower house of Congress in Mexico has passed a proposed change in legislation, which enables the country to have exclusive rights to its lithium reserves.  

This move by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador received the support of 298 voters and 197 abstentions. The initiative, which seeks to amend some portion of the 1992 legislation is now subject to the Senate’s approval.

Lithium exploration, use as well as exploitation will be reserved for the nation under federal authority, according to the amendment, stated Reuters.

Obrador was quoted as saying by BNamericas at a press conference: “We are going to protect our lithium, the lithium of Mexico, the lithium of our generation and of future generations, of our children and our grandchildren.” 

“I make a respectful call to the legislators so that … we protect lithium and lay out the structure for a company, like [state-owned power company] CFE, that will handle everything related to lithium, backed by the support of research facilities in the country and the experience learned from other countries.”

Lithium is termed as the new ‘oil’ due to its many uses, among which is its use in electric vehicle batteries.

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Several lithium projects are currently ongoing in Mexico, which include the Sonora Lithium Project. Bacanora Lithium and its partner Ganfeng Lithium started initial site activities at this project last year.

The project is planned to be developed in two phases.

Lithium exploration, application and exploitation will be reserved for the nation under a federal authority, according to the amendment.