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Thailand unearths huge lithium deposits — RT Business News

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The discovery could help fulfill the Southeast Asian country’s goal of becoming a regional hub for electric-vehicle production

Thailand has found nearly 15 million tons of lithium resources in its southern province of Phang Nga, a government official announced on Friday. The mineral is essential to the renewable energy industry.

The discovery means that the country now boasts the globe’s third-largest lithium reserves, after Bolivia and Argentina. However, it’s unclear how much of these can be exploited for commercial purposes.

According to government deputy spokesperson Rudklao Intawong Suwankiri, the deposits are split between two different locations. “We are trying to find out how much can we use from the resources we found. It takes time,” Rudklao told The Nation television station, according to AFP.

“It’s good news. It’s an opportunity for Thailand to become self-reliant in the production of EV batteries,” Rudklao stated.

Demand for lithium has been soaring across the world as the mineral is vital for manufacturing smartphones, car batteries, and other rechargeable electronics. Moreover, the UN deems lithium a “pillar for the fossil-fuel free economy” because of its potential for energy storage in the clean power grids of the future.

Meanwhile, the administration of Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who assumed office in August, has set a goal of turning the country into a regional production base for electric vehicles. Thailand has a history of producing conventional automobiles.

In December, two Chinese EV giants reportedly pledged to invest 2.3 billion baht ($64 million) in order to promote Thailand as a production hub.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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