Entrepreneurs ask for public-private collaboration for lithium exploration in Mexico

Entrepreneurs from the energy and automotive industries, as well as the heads of technical bodies in the public administration, asked for alternatives for the exploitation of lithium as a private collaboration with the government in the exploration of the essential mineral for the new transportation model, which will be through electric cars around the world and in which Mexico will have to participate.

At forum 16 of Open Parliament of the electrical reform which took place this Wednesday at the Chamber of DeputiesJorge Young, president of the Metropolitan Energy Cluster, explained that the exploitation of lithium in the hands of the State may represent a delay for the country since it obstructs the exploration and certification of reserves of this mineral, which requires techniques other than conventional mining and A plan could well be drawn up for private parties to assume exploratory risks in collaboration with the Mexican State.

According to him, the initiative took into account the announcement of the discovery of 243 million tons of lithium in Sonora and included the exclusivity of the State in the exploitation of lithium based on the Bolivian experience, where there was simply no capital to know how much of this mineral could be exploited and therefore the activity is suspended, unlike Argentina and Chile, where private companies, with expertise from nations such as China and Korea, carried out the exploration and certification of reserves to later open the participation of production to other participants.

“On lithium, instead of there being insults towards the IP, an agreement could be reached between the Mexican government and the companies that can carry out this work, and it would be something of incalculable mutual benefit,” he asserted.

Meanwhile, Alberto Montoya Martín Del Campo, head of the National Commission for Regulatory Improvement, said that 62 million cars, 220 million solar panels and at least 3 million kilometers of new electrical networks will be required in 30 years for the growth of the country. and the only way to guarantee that they materialize is the stewardship of the State in the entire value chain, which also includes energy storage.

José Guillermo Zozaya Délano, executive president of the Mexican Association of the Automotive Industry (AMIA) considered that the approval of the reform to Articles 25, 27 and 28 of the Constitution will bring negative effects for the productive plant of the automotive industry in actions such as the elimination of clean energy certificates, which will prevent the fulfillment of environmental obligations before the corporations of the large global automotive companies that will no longer be able to produce in Mexico.

But above all, he assured that there may be tariff reprisals on manufacturing exports that are not generated with the minimum carbon emission standard, which would severely hit his sector, since Mexico is today the fifth largest global exporter of auto parts.

“The industry’s commitment is to produce more and more electric vehicles than conventional ones and for this purpose it is necessary to have greater use of renewables, in addition to the obligation to lower the carbon footprint in automotive production,” he asserted.

Regarding the debate on the exclusive exploitation of the State of lithium, necessary for the manufacture of electric storage batteries, he considered that more and more light car manufacturing companies will set their sights on the manufacture of batteries and for this it is necessary to know the real situation of strategic mineral reserves such as lithium in the country and for this investment is needed, which does not need to be at the expense of the State, as the reform intends.

“Our sector is in a process of transformation towards new energies, we welcome that there is an effort towards this route and we are willing to collaborate as much as possible”, assured Zozaya Délano.

Meanwhile, Raúl Talán Ramírez, general director of the Trust for the Saving of Electric Energy (FIDE), recalled that at least in 2018 the goal of clean energy participation in the generation basket was not met and there were no pronouncements from the industry at that time, in the previous administration. Therefore, he considered that the real interest is not due to meeting the goals of combating climate change, but to maintain the status of market dominance that private electricity companies have today in Mexico.

Meanwhile, in 2021, 30.12% was generated through clean energy, already complying with international goals and agreements and the upward trend can be maintained to reach the goal of 35% in 2024.

“At least in what refers to the electricity sector, the goals are guaranteed with what has been built, but we must remember that the emissions from power generators are only 18% of the industry and there is a lot of work to be done in the rest of the sector. national productive sector”, he assured.

Therefore, clean energies are not even remotely the only way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector, which is the one that contributes the most carbon dioxide today among the productive sectors. Work must also be done on distributed generation and energy efficiency, which will not be done from the market, which is why it is necessary to return electricity stewardship to the State.

Finally, he requested that the monitoring of carbon emissions be carried out in kilograms per megawatt hour and not in percentage of participation of types of energy, as occurs in the most advanced nations.

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