(Bloomberg) -- Mexico’s government has nationalized Exportadora de Sal SA after buying 49% of the salt producer from Mitsubishi Corp. for 1.5 billion pesos ($87.6 million).

The Guerrero Negro-based salt producer also known as ESSA was already 51% owned by the state. Mining Development Trust contributed 75% of the purchase, with the remaining 25% funded by the Mexican Geological Service, according to a statement on Saturday from the Economy Ministry. 

The deal is part of a drive by outgoing President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to secure the country’s national resources by placing much of them in state hands. His government has railed against the previous administration’s “neoliberal” model of opening nationalized industries such as oil to private investment.

ESSA owns the world’s largest salt mine and is one of the biggest producers of salt in Latin America alongside Chile, with production of more than 8 million tons per year, said Economy Minister Raquel Buenrostro at an event marking the occasion together with AMLO, as the president is known. 

State ownership will guarantee jobs for ESSA’s workers, Buenrostro said.

Read more: AMLO Widens State’s Reach With $6 Billion Iberdrola Deal

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