Lithium

a block with "Li" and "Lithium" written on it
tunasalmon / Shutterstock

As demand for battery metals increases, attention is turning to Latin America, which is home to 60 to 70 percent of global lithium reserves.

John Price: Mexican Lithium Sector Needs Collaboration, Not Cartel Mentalityyoutu.be

The Latin American mining sector is experiencing a boom of sorts, with prices for lithium carbonate up more than 400 percent in the last year. The battery metal, which is integral to the electric vehicle industry, has been one of the best-performing commodities over the last 12 months amid growing demand.

As John Price, director of Americas Market Intelligence, explained during an interview at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention, the global need for this crucial battery metal puts South American countries at an advantage. However, it may also spark a rise in resource nationalism.

“In lithium in particular, where three or four countries in Latin America collectively control something like 60 to 70 percent of global known reserves, there is a strong temptation to at least have the state invest in lithium,” he said. “Whether it's to compete with the private sector, which I think we're going to see in Chile, or if they even pretend like in Mexico and possibly Bolivia to create a state monopoly.”


Earlier this year, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador fast-tracked a new law nationalizing lithium mining and called for the creation of a new state lithium company by late July; however, Price and many others in the sector remain doubtful about the country’s ability to do so.

“Now Mexico has announced this,” Price said. “But people are very skeptical as to the government's ability to mount the resources and the expertise to really put together a state-owned enterprise.”

In terms of lithium production, Mexico is not likely to surpass the annual output of top-producing South American nations. “And so what it means is that investors will look elsewhere,” Price explained to the Investing News Network. “They'll look to Argentina and look to Chile and even Bolivia.”

Watch the interview above to hear from Price about a new report assessing mining investment risk in Latin America. You can also click here for our recap of PDAC, and here for our full PDAC playlist on YouTube.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Georgia Williams, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

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