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Bangchak pours big bucks into overseas lithium mines to make batteries for cellphones, EVs

Bangchak Corporation Plc has diverted 18.5 per cent of its investment budget to foreign lithium mines with the aim to make battery for electric vehicles (EVs) and mobile telephones, the company’s president and chief executive officer, Chaiwat Kovavisarach, said.

“The mines are now under construction in Argentina and Nevada, United States, while the factories to produce pure lithium should be finished by the year-end,” he said.
“The investment will give Bangchak the right to buy high-quality lithium at 6,000 tonne per year, which is enough to produce 3kW/hour batteries for 150,000 EVs, or batteries for 200 million mobile phones.”
Chaiwat added that Bangchak was also planning to sign MoUs with a European battery manufacturer and Chinese partners to develop lithium-related industries that serve the need of Thailand.
“In the early phase of this project, we plan to establish a battery factory in Europe with an investment of $200-300 million within 2024, in accordance with our prediction that battery technology would start to stabilise during 2023-24 in terms of charging time, durability and power output,” he said. “We also expect that by 2025, Europe would manufacture 3-4 million EVs, while Thailand would produce 750,000 vehicles by 2030.
“Also, by 2024 there should be a single standard EV battery announced which every manufacturer must follow, which will cause the EV battery market to expand even faster,” he added.
“We will need to see higher domestic demand for electric vehicles in order to establish a factory to produce lithium ion batteries in Thailand,” added Chaiwat.
“The government needs to promote the use of electric-powered public vehicles, starting from taxi motorcycles. Banchak estimates that Thailand would see 2 million new motorcycles per year, and if these were to be electric-powered it would significantly increase domestic demand for batteries. Then, we should expand the coverage to public buses and minibuses by building charging stations along their routes.
“We should learn from China, which has tackled its air pollution problem by substituting gas-powered motorcycles with electric ones in big cities, then expanded to cars and trucks,” added Chaiwat. “As a result, their pollution situation has gradually improved while their battery industry has also expanded rapidly.”
“Lithium ion battery is eco-friendly as it can be fully recycled or used as electricity storage in power stations when its efficiency drops to 70 per cent. It will help generate battery recycling business and other battery related businesses,” he added.

Published : November 13, 2020