The US has offered Mexico a partnership to extract lithium at a low cost and, together with Canada, has turned the North American region into “a global superpower” in this important mineral for the high-tech industry, especially in batteries for electricity. is used for production. Vehicles and cell phones.
Brian Nichols, the US State Department’s Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, explained the project in an interview with the Mexican newspaper Milenio.
“We’re working together, collectively, to locate the critical minerals that we have in North America that are going to power the next generation of batteries,” he said.
For Nichols, the plan represents “a great opportunity” for Mexico to “take advantage of its reserves” and “make it an integral part of a high-tech (regional) structure”.
The US representative explained, without giving further details, that Washington is ready to offer Mexico special technology and the experience of its country’s private initiative to reduce the cost of producing the so-called “white gold”, which is increasingly coveted.
“For now, the price of Mexican lithium is a little high, and I think there are technologies that can bring that cost down,” he said.
And he added: “I understand that, under Mexican law, the state has the exclusive right to exploit lithium, but you would need the private sector to commercialize it, so in addition to getting the technologies, that sort of thing.” It will be important to form a consortium. It will reduce the cost of Mexican lithium and it will make Mexico competitive not only in our hemisphere, but beyond.”
According to US government estimates echoed by Milenio, the three North American countries could become a global powerhouse in lithium production, with 13.7 million tonnes in their various deposits.
This would make it the second largest producer of the mineral ahead of Asia and behind South America. The reserves that Mexico has estimated in its territory are worth $600,000 million.
The newspaper recalls that several automotive producers, such as Tesla or General Motors, have announced plans to assemble vehicles with lithium batteries in Mexican territory. Volkswagen plans to produce its own electric model in Mexico before 2030.