The state of Baja California is expected soon to legally challenge the companies permitted to extract lithium in Mexicali’s rural area.

Governor Marina Avila said in a press conference “all legal implications” of the permits will be reviewed.

According to government records 31 companies had been authorized to extract lithium in the country.

One of them, namely Tucson, Ariz.-based Pan American Lithium Corp. has been permitted to mine lithium in the geothermal area of Cerro Prieto in rural Mexicali.

The company announced in Nov. 2012 a name change to First Potash Corp. due to issues in Chile with lithium extraction permits and to refocus in developing and commercializing potash, an essential ingredient in fertilizer from lithium from its Chilean brine salars.

Gov. Avila said her administration is interested in lithium mining.

The governor also endorsed President Andrés Manuel López Obrador proposal to nationalize lithium. Decades ago the Mexican government nationalized oil and energy.

On Sunday, the Mexican Congress was unable to approve a presidential bill that would have counter-reformed the energy industry. Gov. Avila said Baja California would become one of the areas in the country with the largest lithium deposits. However, studies reveal that the neighboring state of Sonora leads in lithium deposits nationwide.


A representative of the Mexicali Industry Chamber said Mexico must start the extraction of lithium right away before the mineral’s price goes down.

Chamber President Alberto Sanchez Torres said in the next ten or fifteen years once the mineral becomes widely used the price will decline.

Earlier this week the Mexican Congress approved a bill that nationalizes lithium for the sole extraction by the government. The bill includes provisions to forbid private companies from applying for permits.

Lithium, a mineral used to produce batteries for electric vehicles, has been found in the geothermal plant of Cerro Prieto in rural Mexicali.

According to Sanchez Torres the Mexican government lacks the financial and technical abilities to extract lithium, La Voz newspaper reported.

Therefore, private investment and foreign technology will be needed in the new lithium industry. Sanchez Torres considered no benefits will be seen if Mexico only extracts and exports lithium.

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