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Major electric vehicle battery component find made in Thailand

Discovery of lithium in the country's southern Phang Nga province has also attracted insert.

Thailand has discovered nearly 15-million tonnes of lithium deposits, a government spokesman said, a boost for the kingdom’s goal of becoming a regional hub for electric vehicle production.

Game changing find

The find means Thailand has the third largest lithium resources, behind Bolivia and Argentina, but it is not yet clear how much can be exploited commercially.

The 14.8-million tonnes of lithium are distributed between two separate sites in the southern province of Phang Nga, government deputy spokeswoman Rudklao Intawong Suwankiri told The Nation television station.

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“We are trying to find out how much can we use from the resources we found. It takes time,” Rudklao said.

Lithium is a key component in the manufacture of batteries used in electric cars, as well as smartphones and other electronics.

Interest already

The government of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, which took over in August, has made it a priority to try to boost Thailand as a regional production hub for electric vehicles, building on the kingdom’s history of assembling conventional cars.

During the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Srettha met industry leaders including the deputy chairman of Bosch to urge him to invest in EV production in Thailand.

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

In December 2023, two Chinese EV giants said they would invest 2.3-billion baht (R1.2-billion) to develop Thailand as a production hub.

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