A state official confirmed the existence of lithium in Mexicali, according to media reports.

Secretary of the Treasury Marco Antonio Moreno told La Voz newspaper that the issue has been addressed by the State’s Department of Economy.

However, the official declined to provide any further details.

“We have identified certain areas in the state that have lithium, particularly in Mexicali,” Moreno said. “This is going to be a very important issue (that) will push economic development in the region.”

State authorities began studying the potential mining of this mineral — a key for the production of batteries for electric vehicles.

National Industry Chamber President Alberto Sanchez told the newspaper that if Mexicali is consolidated with the Sonoran lithium authorities expect to be the largest reserve in Latin America.

“Our state should be negotiating to obtain permits and starting studies of the potential in Mexicali,” Sanchez told the newspaper. “Our neighbors to the north have eleven mining sites and we only have one — Cerro Prieto. However, ours is bigger than theirs.”

Mexicali could mine lithium from the geothermal plant of Cerro Prieto that has been criticized for its pollution levels in rural areas.

Sanchez said the topic has been brought to the attention of Governor Marina Avila, but the governor is still waiting for the federal government’s decisión in the matter.

According to Mexican law all goods extracted belong to the nation, so all mining requires federal permits. “We are not against this,” Sanchez explained. “But (lithium extraction) must be opened to private investors given the government will not have the funds to mine.”

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