What is lithium and which countries are the largest producers?

The lithium fever in Mexico, explained: what is happening? 4:04 (CNN Spanish) — After the approval of the Senate, the Mexican Congress reformed and added new provisions to the Mining Law that aims to nationalize lithium; a mining that is booming for being used mainly to make batteries for electric cars. According to the decree published in the Official Gazette of the Federation, it is now “recognized that lithium is the patrimony of the Nation and its exploration, exploitation, benefit and use is reserved in favor of the people of Mexico”, for which no concessions will be granted. , licenses, contracts, permits or authorizations to third parties. But, what is lithium and how is Mexico positioned against other producers of this mineral? Major lithium producers We explain what the nationalization of lithium in Mexico implies 4:33 According to data published by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Mexico has lithium reserves estimated at 1,700 tons, while The largest global reserves are in Australia and in the so-called “lithium triangle”. Four mineral operations in Australia, two brine operations each in Argentina and Chile, and two brine operations and one mineral operation in China accounted for the majority of global lithium production. These are the 10 countries that have the largest lithium reserves in the world: Bolivia: 21 million tons Argentina: 19 million tons Chile: 9.8 million tons Australia: 7.3 million tons China: 5.1 million tons Congo: 3 million tons Canada: 2.9 million tons Germany: 2.7 million tons Mexico: 1.7 million tons Czech Republic: 1.3 million tons The lithium dilemma in Mexico Capacity of lithium exploitation in Mexico is unknown, according to an expert 4:40 If Mexico joins the global competition Jaime Gutiérrez Núñez, president of the Mexican Mining Chamber (CAMIMEX) told CNN that “more than 25,000 jobs could be generated direct, more than 300,000 indirect, generate more foreign exchange to the country, generate more taxes around 25,000 million additional pesos a year”. However, unlike other countries such as Australia, Chile and Argentina, Mexico has lithium in clays or lithium in sediments, which according to Dr. Carlos Rius Alonso, a chemist at the Autonomous University of Mexico, extraction could have an impact on environment. “If I have clay, as is the case in Sonora, I will have to dissolve that clay in water, I will have to make a suspension and digest it with acid. This will generate thousands of cubic meters of toxic substances,” he said. Rius Alonso. On the other hand, Armando Ernesto Alatorre Campos, president of the College of Mining Engineers, Metallurgists and Geologists of Mexico (CIMMGM), explained to CNN that Mexico currently only has one known lithium deposit, which could eventually go into production. Alatorre Campos explains that what is available in Mexico are localities that indicate there is a small presence of lithium. However, the director of the CIMMGM said that it will be necessary to carry out a series of works, exploration and research that require between 5 to 10 years, as well as investments of hundreds of millions of dollars to locate a second deposit. Regarding the cost of extracting lithium deposits in clay, the Association of Metallurgical Mining Engineers and Geologists of Mexico, AC, indicated in a document that these “can be very large, but to extract lithium it is necessary to calcine the clays to make lithium and other elements soluble in water, which implies a high cost”. With information from Rey Rodríguez and Carmen Aristegui