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Mexico to start producing lithium batteries in late 2023

The Sonora project is expected to produce 35,000 tonnes of lithium per year at full tilt. (Image courtesy of Bacanora Minerals | Twitter.)

Mexico, which nationalized lithium resources in April, plans to start producing lithium batteries in late 2023 as it has secured foreign investment and the backing of the United States, its leading trading partner.

“We have already prepared for 2023 investments from companies from South Korea, China, and a program agreed with the US to start producing batteries in Mexico, we hope in the third or fourth quarter,” foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard said, according to local paper La Jornada.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced last month a $2.5 billion plan to turn parts of the border region with the US into a clean energy hub, home to solar and wind plants as well as electric vehicle factories.

Mexico plans to build five large solar plants, recondition car factories to make electric vehicles, and produce batteries and semiconductors in Sonora. 

The northern state, which shares nearly 600km (370 miles) of border with the US, aims to also host mining projects developed with American and Canadian investors

The country does not yet have commercial lithium production, but it has contracts with a dozen foreign companies to explore potential deposits.

A recent report by Mexico’s finance ministry pegs the value of Sonora lithium reserves at $600 billion.