Mexican Government Acquires Salt Plant

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The Mexican government recently made a significant move in the salt industry by purchasing Mitsubishi’s minority stake in a major salt-producing plant located on the Baja California peninsula. This transaction marked the government’s acquisition of complete ownership of the operation, effectively declaring its nationalization.

Exportadora de Sal: A Global Leader in Sea Salt Production

Exportadora de Sal, known as the world’s largest sea salt operation with an impressive annual production exceeding 8 million metric tons, was previously owned 51% by the Mexican government and 49% by Mitsubishi.

According to Mexico’s Economy Ministry, the government paid 1.5 billion Mexican pesos (equivalent to $88 million) to acquire Mitsubishi’s stake in Exportadora de Sal, and now holds full control over the operation, reflecting its commitment to preserving national resources.

Mexico’s Position in the Global Salt Market

Mexico stands as the seventh-largest producer of salt globally, with an annual output reaching 8.7 million tons. Exportadora de Sal, often referred to as Essa, plays a vital role in supplying salt to key markets such as Japan, the United States, and various other countries.

In a statement made by Economy Minister Raquel Buenrostro, she highlighted the significance of the nationalization of Essa, emphasizing the government’s dedication to ensuring that the benefits derived from its natural resources remain within the country. This strategic decision aligns with the president’s vision of maximizing the value of Mexico’s abundant resources for the nation’s prosperity.

State’s Role in Energy and Natural Resources Expansion

As nationalist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador continues to assert the state’s dominance in energy and natural resources, recent acquisitions highlight Mexico’s push towards autonomy in these vital sectors.

Nationalizing Resources

Last year, Mexico’s lithium deposits fell under state control following legislation restricting exploration and development to the government. This move set the stage for further state interventions in the energy landscape.

Strategic Acquisitions

In 2022, state oil company Petróleos Mexicanos took a bold step by acquiring Shell’s 50% stake in the Deer Park refinery near Houston, Texas for $600 million. Similarly, the government’s $6 billion acquisition of 13 power generating plants from Spain’s Iberdrola signaled a significant shift towards state ownership, with operations transitioning to Comisión Federal de Electricidad.

Embracing Sovereignty

Demonstrating a commitment to enhancing national energy sovereignty, Pemex was directed to assume control of Air Liquide’s hydrogen plant at the Tula refinery. This strategic move aims to boost refining margins and strengthen Mexico’s position in the global energy landscape.

Toward Expropriation

The recent declaration of the hydrogen plant as a “public utility” marks a decisive step towards potential expropriation. Originally acquired by Air Liquide from Pemex, this facility now stands at the center of Mexico’s drive for energy independence.

As Mexico continues to reshape its energy sector, these developments underscore the government’s proactive approach towards securing vital resources and asserting control over strategic assets.

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