Newspaper La Jornada
Friday April 15, 2022, p. 3
The initiative to reform the mining law that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador already has ready in order to guarantee that lithium is declared a strategic mineral owned by the nation is fundamental and has the endorsement of the Morena legislators, said Senator Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, who considered that an integral modification of this legislation is also required, which in the past four decades has been adapting to the interests of national and foreign companies.
I applaud the announcement made by the President of the Republic, to reform the mining law, to prevent private interests from seizing this metal, called white oil, which can generate a lot of wealth for the country, since it is the mineral of the future its use in the telecommunications industry, especially for cell phone batteries, cameras and other devices.
Leader of the mining union, the senator stressed that for this reason the federal Executive is right to have this initiative ready, in case the electrical constitutional reform is not approved, which includes modifications to article 28 of the Magna Carta, to consider lithium property unique to the nation.
The senator from the guinda party considered that in any case the mining law requires a thorough review, since for 40 years the governments of the Institutional Revolutionary (PRI) and National Action (PAN) parties have been making it more flexible to allow private companies , national and foreign, that operate in this sector, obtain full control of the concessions, accumulate land that belongs to the nation, many remain idle and even dispose of it, pollute the environment, without sanctions destroy towns and accumulate profits, because your tax contribution is very little.
This has to change, regardless of lithium, the adjustment to the mining law must go in depth if we want to maintain sovereignty over our mineral resources. Currently, they already have 120 of the 200 million hectares of the national territory, if we don’t stop them, they will want to keep the whole country.
Since the legislature began in the Senate, in 2018, Gómez Urrutia has been preparing a reform project, he explained, to bring order to the mining sector. President López Obrador stopped the granting of concessions, since Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto granted them in an exaggerated way, but a series of changes are also required to stop the looting of resources.
As a principle, he said, reduce the period of time for which concessions are granted, which is 50 years, with the possibility of renewing them for another 50.
This means that businessmen can have them for up to a century and given that the productive life of a mining deposit is 20 years on average, they keep the land in their possession for another 80 years, which has even allowed them to sell it..
Gómez Urrutia stressed that he is aware
how businessmen, when they no longer exploit the mines, seize the land, which is property of the nation, and even create an illegal real estate market. One of the fundamental changes, he maintained, is to re-establish in the law the provision that concessions will be automatically canceled if they are not exploited after two years of being granted. In addition, review the entire fiscal scheme, which harms the State.