Saturday, February 4, 2023

United States and Canada target lithium production in Mexico

The deposits are found for the most part in (Mexican) clay substrates that cannot yet be accessed with current technology. However, US technology is believed to be the key to unlocking lithium.

US Department of Commerce

The governments of the United States and Canada have shown interest in their companies participating in Mexico’s production of lithium, a key mineral for the production of electric cars.

The US Department of Commerce indicated in a report that in the interest of developing a local supply chain for processed lithium, battery makers may start setting up plants in Mexico. However, it may be years before we see a fully developed lithium industry.

Mexico nationalized lithium mining and extraction in April 2022, awarding a state-owned company (Litio para México -LitioMx-) exclusive rights to extract lithium. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has identified resources of 1.7 million tons of this mineral, placing Mexico in tenth place worldwide.

“However, the deposits are found for the most part in clay substrates that cannot yet be accessed with current technology. However, American technology may be the key to unlocking the lithium in these deposits.

On 10 January, within the framework of the X Summit of North American Leaders, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, recommended that Mexico allow private investment in the production of so-called “critical” minerals such as lithium. That this region becomes a leader in the production of electric cars.

According to USGS data, Canada has 2.9 million tonnes of lithium reserves, while the United States has reserves totaling up to 750,000 tonnes.

The only lithium production in the United States came from a brine farm in Nevada. The two companies produced a wide range of lithium compounds in the United States from both domestic and imported lithium carbonate, lithium chloride, and lithium hydroxide.

Data on US production has been omitted to avoid revealing confidential company information.

Although lithium markets vary by location, the global end-use market is estimated to be as follows: batteries, 74%; ceramics and glass, 14%; lubricating grease, 3%; Flux powder for continuous casting moulds, 2%; polymer production, 2%; air treatment, 1%; and other uses, 4 percent.

Lithium consumption for batteries has grown significantly in recent years as rechargeable lithium batteries are widely used in the growing market for electric vehicles and portable electronic devices, and are increasingly being used in power equipment and network storage applications. Is.

Lithium ores were used directly as mineral concentrates in ceramic and glass applications.

Lithium, the lightest of all the metallic elements, is highly reactive and does not occur in elemental form in nature.

The concentration of lithium in the Earth’s crust is about 20 parts per million. Lithium has been used for nearly 100 years in metallurgy, medicines, and glass glazing, and more recently in military, grease, and cosmetic applications. Lithium has been used in batteries since at least 1935.

Mexican bet

The Government of Mexico announced on August 23 last year the creation of Litio para México (LitioMx) as a decentralized public body of the Federal Public Administration and coordinated by the Ministry of Energy with its own legal personality and assets and with technical autonomy did. Operations and Management.

A few days later, on 31 August, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced that Pablo Taddei would be director of the new company, which would have its office in Sonora.

Taddei Arreola is a graduate in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Sonora, a teacher at the University of Michigan, and a doctoral student in environmental health at Harvard University. The engineer is the son of Jorge Tadei, who works as a representative of social programs for the federal government in the state of Sonora.

LitioMx aims at the exploration, exploitation, beneficiation and use of lithium located in the national territory, as well as the administration and control of the economic value chains of said mineral.

To fulfill its objective, Lithium for Mexico has, among others, the following characteristics: Formulate a medium and long-term strategic program for the exploration, exploitation, beneficiation and use of lithium and its economic value chains; and to research and develop technology needed in industry related to the use of lithium.

Nation World News Desk
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