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21 Feb 2020

Dialogo Chino

Mexico: World’s largest lithium reserves set to be mined by company Bacanora despite concerns of negative environmental impacts

“Mexico's lithium discovery is a double-edged sword”, 14th February 2020

…With reserves of some 244 million tonnes, lithium deposits discovered by the Canadian company Bacanora in the northeastern Mexican state of Sonora are the world’s largest, containing significantly more than the second-placed Thacker Pass site in the US state of Nevada (178 million tonnes), Mexico’s under secretary of mining Francisco Quiroga claimed in December.

Lithium is an central component in rechargeable batteries used in smartphones and electronic vehicles (EVs), making it critical for the global energy transition. Ganfeng Lithium, China’s largest lithium compounds producer and supplier to Tesla, has already agreed to a joint venture Bacanora to develop the mine in Sonora, which will be Mexico’s first lithium mine…

While the metal holds clean energy potential, it comes with pitfalls. The exploitation of lithium, requires huge quantities of water and can have serious consequences for the environment. Its extraction and industrialisation has also ignited vigorous national debates about resource ownership and management in countries including Chile and Bolivia…

Sonora is already facing a desertification crisis and is ranked as having ‘Extremely High Baseline Water Stress’, according to the World Resources Institute. This means the population is already using more than 80% of their available water supply…