The message that the mexican government with the changes of Mining law is that at any time and with the stroke of a pen it can change the rules of the game, with the possibility that other minerals can be included, said the president of the Mining Committee of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Mexico , Armando Ortega.
The measure is practically an expropriation for those who already have mining concessions to explore and exploit lithium, because the state reserves the entire chain of lithium and the same modifications to the mining law do not determine what will happen to current concessions. .
Ortega expressed concern about several situations: if changes are made to the law at any time, there will be a public body that does not have the resources to deal with lithium and the third concern is that the text that has been approved to reserve lithium indicates that other minerals may be included in the future.
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It is worrying that “it is not only that the State has reserved itself, without any reservations authorized in a free trade agreement, not even in the Mexican Constitutionbut the law says that in the future, the federal government may identify other minerals as strategic”.
For this reason, Ortega wonders: “So where is the legal certainty, what other minerals. In the electricity reform defeated, it was said strategic minerals linked to the energy transition, there at least there was a limitation, but there they left it as big as a strategic mineral that the government decides, all that c is a pity.
He added that the changes to the law did not define what would happen to the current concessions, which generates uncertainty and will generate protections, constitutional controversies by political parties, there could be litigation based on non-compliance with trade treaties and investment protection agreements.
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It was not included in the text of the treaty between Mexico, the United States and Canada (USMCA) the exclusive use of lithium for the government and the absence of presence are against said agreement. Nor is it in the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty, nor in the treaty with Europe.
In addition to the fact that there may be mining companies that have a concession to exploit other minerals and if lithium is found they will no longer be able to continue operating due to the restrictions, because there is no transient that says what will happen if you explore for lithium or another mineral.
“Although the law cannot be applied retroactively” they can tell you that the management of lithium belongs only to the state and that you are going against the law, all because what has been approved did not include the different assumptions for concessions that already exist.
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It is also worrying that by reserving the lithium value chain, it means that even the management of lithium batteries cannot be done by the private sector, but rather by the government.
He added that the other problem is that “there is little chance that a public company could produce lithium”, especially considering that this mineral was found in clay and not in rocks. , in addition to the fact that they will not grant extraordinary resources to the organization that will take care of lithium.
The agency will practically be born dead, because the letter sent by the Ministry of Finance to the Chamber of Deputies indicates that “basically it will be born without a budget, so let’s say it’s a bit like the birth of a decentralized agency dead, because how will it work if it will have practically no budget, let’s see what secretariat they assign it to coordinate, but they are not going to give it a special budget, which should be substantial.