5 miners said to have lithium concessions in… – BNamericas English

Credit: Original article can be found here

5 miners said to have lithium concessions in Mexico – BNamericas

China , Mexico and Canada


Five companies currently have lithium mining concessions in Mexico, according to a report by two mining NGOs, which clashes with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s claims that there are only one or two such concessions in the country.

The companies are China’s Ganfeng Lithium and Canadian firms Rockland Resources, Advance Lithium, Silver Valley Metals and One World Lithium, according to the report entitled ¿Interés público o extractivismo transnacional? (Public interest or transnational extractivism?), which was published by MiningWatch Canada and the Mexican network of people affected by mining (REMA).   

Ganfeng has the most advanced lithium project in the country in Sonora state, while Rockland has the Elektra project, also in Sonora state, Advance Lithium and Silver Valley Metals have 16 salt flats in Zacatecas and San Luis Potosí states, while One World Lithium has the Salar del Diablo project in Baja California state.

“With the exception of Chinese firm Ganfeng’s Sonora lithium project, the other private lithium projects in the country that we have identified show very little exploration and are in the hands of junior mining companies that have little financial and technological capital,” the report said.

The government is seeking to redefine the terms under which lithium concessions were granted before it nationalized exploitation of the soft, white metal in April last year to pave the way for its ambitious Sonora Plan to support the global energy transition, as López Obrador said in January.

At the time, he told a press conference that there were “one or two” companies that were granted concessions to exploit lithium before the nationalization of the sector with the reform of the mining law.

Later that month, AMLO said there was only one company carrying out some exploration in a limited area, but that it did not have the necessary permits. However, the MiningWatch Canada-REMA report suggests that is incorrect.

The government is looking to reach an agreement to avoid a legal battle with the company as the authorities aim to take control of lithium assets. However, the status of any talks remains unknown.

“In the event of a possible expropriation, despite the minimal investments they have made to date, these companies could still resort to suing or putting pressure on Mexico based on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP or TPP11),” the report said. 

The CPTPP is a trade agreement between Mexico, Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which was ratified by both Mexico and Canada and went into force on December 30, 2018.

During a visit by López Obrador to Sonora state last month, the government was expected to transfer the first lithium concessions to the LitioMx state-owned company created last August, but the transfer did not occur.

Instead, AMLO signed a decree to bring the reserves of the metal under the control of the energy ministry (Sener), saying during the ceremony that existing concessions within a mining area of more than 235,000ha in Sonora would “remain safe.” However, the decree sparked uncertainty, as it also stated that no mining related to lithium could take place within that area.

“If the Ganfeng company so decides, it could sue under the Bilateral Investment Treaty between Mexico and China or use the financial, technological and legal advantages of its business and in that treaty as leverage in its favor in the case of negotiations with the State,” added the report.

Sonora Lithium

The Sonora Lithium project was initially developed by British company Bacanora Lithium, but Ganfeng completed a 190mn-UK pound (US$253mn) takeover of Bacanora last year.

Following Mexico’s mining law reform, Ganfeng said in a release that the Sonora Lithium project complied with all the country’s laws, regulations and amendments.

According to the report, Ganfeng has nine current concessions issued between 2010 and 2015 by the economy ministry and valid until 2060-65 and one concession being processed since 2013. 

It also has an environmental impact statement authorized by the environment and natural resources ministry (Semarnat) in June 2017 for the exploitation of lithium at the La Ventana project, as well as a water concession registered with water commission Conagua in January 2019, agreements with owners of the land acquired and a land use permit approved by the municipality. Semarnat also authorized a preventive report on the drilling of test wells in August 2020.

The Sonora Lithium project is in the development phase, with first production scheduled for the second half of 2024. The company having pushed that date back from the second half of this year without giving a reason.

“It remains to be seen how the State will respond to these companies and their projects, as well as how the companies themselves might react to any action by the State to associate [with them] or to expropriate their projects,” the report said.

Subscribe to the most trusted business intelligence platform in Latin America. Let us show you our solutions for Suppliers, Contractors, Operators, Government, Legal, Financial and Insurance.

Subscribe to Latin America’s most trusted business intelligence platform.

Other projects

Other companies

Get key information on thousands of companies in Latin America, from projects, to contacts, shareholders, related news and more.

  • Company: Carbones del Cerrejón Ltd. &nbsp(Cerrejón)
  • Bogotá-based Carbones del Cerrejón LLC (Cerrejón) is a mining and integrated transport operation, comprising a thermal coal open pit mine, a 150km railroad and a seaport capable…
  • Company: P.A. Perú, S.A.C. &nbsp(P.A. Perú)
  • The description contained in this profile was taken directly from an official source and has not been edited or modified by BNamericas researchers, but may have been automatical…
  • Company: Ecosur Bahía S.A. &nbsp(Ecosur Bahía)
  • The description contained in this profile was taken directly from an official source and has not been edited or modified by BNamericas researchers, but may have been automatical…