Posted: Dec 4, 2021 16:26 GMT
The mineral is present, above all, in the states of Puebla, Oaxaca, Durango, Nuevo León and Sonora.
Lithium is one of the top topics globally and Mexico is at the center of the conversation. According to the United States Geological Survey, Mexico ranks ninth in the world in reserves of this mineral and according to researchers, there are more than 80 locations in the country where these mines would exist
The mineral is present, above all, in the states of Puebla, Oaxaca, Durango, Nuevo León and Sonora. The latter is precisely where the one that it is believed to be the largest deposit on the planet.
“They are not these large-area salt flats, like the most famous and largest salt flat in the world, the Salar de Uyuni, but it is in the mountains and then there the process is different, the area is smaller and the process for its treatment is different “, explains the academic technician of the Institute of Economic Investigations of the UNAM, Armando Negrete Fernández.
However, the news about the discovery of lithium in Sonora has turned upside down, after it became known that many of these deposits of today called ‘white gold’ are in territory that belongs to pre-Hispanic communities, like the Zapotec and Mixtec, so it is vital to consult these native populations before their extraction.
As explained by Convention No. 169 of the International Labor Office (ILO) on indigenous peoples, there are two central postulates. The first speaks of the right of the original peoples to maintain their cultures and ways of life and the second, their right to participate effectively in the decisions that affect them.
“I wish so, it would be an unprecedented case of being incorporated [a los pueblos indígenas] about what to do with lithium, about some of its resources. The best thing would be if they were taken into account and part of the profits are used for the local infrastructure, that would be the ideal, “says Negrete Fernández.
A hope for the environment?
One of the factors that gives lithium more value is that it is considered one of the possible solutions to climate change, since it is used for manufacture of batteries for electric cars and solar panels.
These are products belonging to the now exploited culture of the ‘green wash’, that is to say, products supposedly friendly to the environment. It is for this reason that the eyes of great powers such as the US have turned to Latin America, and it is from nations such as Argentina and Chile that it obtains the highest percentage of this mineral.
‘In the crosshairs of the US and the EU’
Given the international voracity for lithium, the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has made it clear that the federal government will deny concessions to foreign companies and that its objective is for this mineral to be for the exclusive use of the nation.
The corresponding reform is already being discussed in the Senate and this initiative is already viewed with fear and suspicion by both the United States and the European Union.
What the US is pursuing throughout Latin America “is a geopolitical struggle against China for the appropriation of a strategic material such as lithium, “says Negrete Fernández.
“That happened in Bolivia, it is happening in what they call ‘the lithium triangle’ with Chile and Argentina. It is a matter of control of strategic materials not only for the present, but for the future in view of an urgent energy transition“, he concludes.
Thus, lithium, its deposits, extraction, commercialization, import, export and political decisions as well as social positions, today create tension between the countries that have industries that require this mineral to continue with their millionaire businesses and the nations that own the called ‘white gold’.
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