Thai officials report the discovery of lithium deposits that they claim are the world’s third-largest reserves of the key battery-making material for EVs. There are two locations in the southern region of Phang-Nga. One location is estimated to contain 14.8 tons of lithium, while the second site is still being surveyed. Thailand will come in third behind Bolivia and Argentina for known lithium deposits, according to a government spokesperson.
The lithium deposits were the first discovered in Thailand. Large deposits of sodium, a resource for making EV batteries, were also discovered in the northeast of the country.
The quality of the ore and whether or not the reserves are suitable for commercial production have not yet been established. Demand for lithium has surged, with global lithium production expanding 21% in 2022 to 130,000 tons, according to USGS reports.
Thailand positions electric vehicles as a pivotal growth industry. Bangkok is working to secure investment from major overseas manufacturers. Great Wall Motor is the first Chinese automaker to start manufacturing EVs on Thai soil. Toyota Motor, Honda Motor, and two other Japanese automakers will invest a total of 150 billion baht ($4.22 billion) in Thailand over five years toward local production of EVs.