AMLO seeks deal over disputed mining concession with Chinese lithium firm


Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Thursday that his government will seek an agreement with Chinese lithium miner Ganfeng while still defending Mexico’s rights after the firm filed an arbitration case over a disputed concession.

Lopez Obrador did not flesh out a potential agreement that could resolve the dispute but instead stressed his government’s successful push in 2022 to nationalize Mexico’s lithium industry, which reserves the mineral’s future production for the state.

The president, who has long-favored resource extraction activities controlled by the government instead of private producers, suggested the dispute with Ganfeng traces back to confusion over how concessions were granted by previous governments.

“That’s because we believe that the country had previously given out, and we think gave out (mining concessions) in a generic way, not specifically for lithium but instead for mining and we don’t think it applies,” he said.

There is currently no commercial production in Mexico of the ultra-light metal used to make rechargeable batteries, especially for electric vehicles.

Lopez Obrador, whose term as president ends in September, noted that public-private partnerships for lithium projects are allowed.

Late last week, China’s Ganfeng and two of its units registered an arbitration case against the Mexican government over a mining concession in northern Mexico with the World Bank’s dispute settlement center.

Shanghai-based Ganfeng is a top global battery maker and lithium miner.

Source: OEM

The Sonora Post