Thailand accelerates lithium exploration to become EV production hub


Thailand is speeding up exploration of lithium in a bid to become an electric vehicle (EV) production hub, the Industry Ministry said on Wednesday.

Industry Minister Pimphattra Wichaikul said the Department of Primary Industries and Mines (DPIM) had been tasked with speeding up the exploration of potential lithium resources in Thailand.

Lithium is an important alkali metal for production of lithium-ion batteries to power EVs.

"This move aims to build stability and prepare Thailand for becoming an EV production base," Pimphattra said, "It is also in line with the Industry Ministry's policy to develop a comprehensive EV supply chain."

Meanwhile, DPIM deputy director-general Aditad Vasinonta said two resources — Reung Kiet and Bang E Tum — in Phang Nga province's Takua Thung district had the potential for lithium mining.

"If the licence to set up the Reung Kiet Mine is approved, it could produce batteries for at least 1 million EVs," he said.

He also confirmed that modern lithium exploration technology could control and reduce the impact on the environment and local residents' health.

In addition, the DPIM has developed technology that can reuse and recycle batteries to feed vehicles, residences, offices or factories in line with circular economy.

"If Thailand has sufficient lithium resource, it would attract investors to set up their battery plants, as well as positive sentiment about the country's EV industry and supply chain," Aditad said.

He vowed to accelerate licence requests to explore more lithium resources across Thailand, as well as licence approvals to set up mines to support the Thai EV industry.

Thanks to the government's EV 3.5 measures, it helps boost confidence among automakers to set up their production base in Thailand, he said.

Under the measures, the government will provide subsidies of approximately 100,000 baht per vehicle for imported EVs and require car manufacturers to establish EV manufacturing plants in Thailand at a ratio of 2-3 times the number of imports.