Thailand’s Lithium Ambition:
Thailand is set to venture into lithium production within two years, positioning itself as a key player in the electric vehicle (EV) sector. The Reung Kiet project, spearheaded by Australian company Miner Pan Asia Metals, aims to secure mining permits by March. This strategic move aligns with Thailand’s broader goal of having EVs constitute 30 percent of its annual automobile production by 2030.
Prospective Lithium Yield:
Miner Pan Asia Metals is optimistic about initiating lithium chemical production from Reung Kiet by early 2026. The Department of Primary Industries and Mines (DPIM) estimates that the site could yield approximately 164,500 tonnes of lithium, sufficient for at least 1 million 50-kilowatt-hour EV batteries. The mining activities are anticipated to commence within the next two years.
Additionally, Pan Asia’s Paul Lock suggests that the mineral resources at the Bang I Tum site may surpass those at Reung Kiet by 10 to 70 percent. This expansion underscores Thailand’s commitment to fostering a robust lithium supply chain.
Thailand’s EV Production Aspiration:
As Southeast Asia’s largest automobile producer and exporter, Thailand is striving to become a regional hub for battery production. The government has backed 38 battery production projects with a total investment of $659.4 million, emphasizing its commitment to EV and energy storage technologies.
Push for Lithium Exploration:
In a bid to reinforce its position, Thailand is actively encouraging lithium exploration in new areas. Legislative changes are underway to allow private companies to explore agricultural lands for lithium. Matsa Resources, an Australian miner, holds special permits for lithium exploration in Thailand, with over 100 requests pending.
The Lepidolite Challenge:
The lithium under exploration in Thailand is found in lepidolite, a mineral posing processing challenges compared to the lithium mined in Australia and Chile. Matsa and Pan Asia are in discussions with Chinese companies, leveraging their expertise in processing lepidolite from Jiangxi province.
In conclusion, Thailand’s ambitious foray into lithium production signals a transformative shift towards sustainability and regional leadership in the burgeoning EV industry.