Phang Nga’s lithium deposits eyed for Thailand’s EV ambitions

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Phang Nga’s rich lithium deposits were the focal point of a House Committee on Industry visit yesterday, as the government looks to establish the area as a global lithium source. The move aligns with the government’s strategy to make Thailand an electronic vehicle (EV) manufacturing hub.

Akkaradech Wongpitakroj, chairman of the House Committee and United Thai Nations MP for Ratchaburi, led the delegation to the southern province. The visit included a progress report update from Phangnga governor Supoj Rodruang Na Nongkhai and a trip to the Ruangkiat lithium deposit in tambon Ka Lai. Here, they met with Wichat Trairat, the chief of the Tambon Ka Lai Administrative Organisation.

The Ruangkiat deposit, one of three new sites verified by the Department of Primary Industries and Mines in January, is estimated to hold at least 14.8 million tonnes of lithium (with 0.45% lithium oxide content). This site alone could potentially power at least one million EVs, assuming each vehicle uses a 50 kWh lithium battery, according to an earlier report.

Akkaradech highlighted the significance of lithium manufacture in the province for the government’s EV policy, given that lithium is a key component in battery production. He also revealed that the committee is planning to engage in discussions with the Industry Ministry about legal overlaps that have hindered some producers’ mineral exploration license renewal this year.

Despite the province’s potential as a lithium production hub, there have been concerns raised by the local community and groups about the possible impact of exploration on their communities and tourist sites. In response, Akkaradech assured that the committee plans to consult all stakeholders while addressing the potential consequences of fast-growing lithium mining operations in future meetings. He acknowledged the potential environmental implications, stressing the importance of careful consideration and planning, reported Bangkok Post.

In related news, Thailand experienced a surge in electric vehicle (EV) sales, driven by government incentives and market confidence, despite Apple’s withdrawal from EV manufacturing. Growth trajectory expected to continue.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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