Thailand aims for Lithium production by 2026, boosting regional EV industry

According to Thailand’s Department of Primary Industries and Mines (DPIM), the Reung Kiet site has the potential to yield approximately 164,500 metric tons of lithium carbonate, a key component in lithium iron phosphate batteries for EVs.

Thailand is aiming to commence lithium production from a southwestern mine in approximately two years, furthering its ambitions to become a prominent electric vehicle (EV) production hub in the region. Government and company sources involved in the project reveal that the country’s position arises from not only developing lithium mines but also fostering an EV production industry, attracting substantial investment commitments from Chinese carmakers, totalling $1.44 billion.

Miner Pan Asia Metals (PAM.AX) is set to submit mining licenses in March for the Reung Kiet project in Thailand’s Phang-Nga province. This project includes the promising Reung Kiet and Bang I Tum sites. Paul Lock, Chairman, and Managing Director of Pan Asia Metals, expressed optimism about initiating lithium chemical production from Reung Kiet by early 2026.

According to Thailand’s Department of Primary Industries and Mines (DPIM), the Reung Kiet site has the potential to yield approximately 164,500 metric tons of lithium carbonate, a key component in lithium iron phosphate batteries for EVs. This quantity could translate into enough lithium for at least one million EV batteries with a 50-kilowatt-hour capacity. Aditad Vasinonta, DPIM’s Director General, highlighted the possibility of starting mining at Reung Kiet in about two years.

Furthermore, Pan Asia’s Lock indicated that the mineral resources at Bang I Tum could surpass Reung Kiet by 10%-70%, suggesting substantial growth potential through further exploration. This positions Thailand as an emerging player in the lithium market, aligning with its aspirations to become a regional hub for electric vehicles.

As Thailand ventures into increased EV output, with a goal to convert 30% of annual vehicle production to EVs by 2030, the push for lithium production aligns with the country’s broader ambitions. The government, having supported 38 battery production projects with a total investment of $659.40 million, aims to position Thailand as a regional hub for battery production, encompassing both EVs and energy storage.

Moreover, the Thai government is actively encouraging lithium exploration in new areas, revising regulations to enable private firms, such as Australian miner Matsa Resources, to undertake studies on agricultural land. Matsa Resources holds two special prospecting licenses in Thailand and has over 100 applications in the pipeline.

Notably, Thailand’s lithium deposits differ from those in Australia and Chile, being found within lepidolite minerals. Discussions are underway between Pan Asia Metals and Matsa Resources with Chinese firms for potential collaboration in mining and producing lithium chemicals in Thailand. This strategic move is anticipated to require an investment ranging from $180 million to $250 million to support Thai-based battery manufacturers by ensuring a local supply of essential materials.