Czech political parties clash over who should exploit lithium reserves
The Czech Republic has the biggest reserves lithium reserves in Europe with one company at the moment having taking the lead in prospecting those reserves and planning their extraction. But some political parties now appear to be discussing whether the state should be taking the lead in exploiting this strategic mineral.
Lithium is used for long lasting batteries in everything from mobile phones to electric cars and after a rocking rise in world prices over recent years the prices are again up this year by around 18 percent. That is now focusing some attention and sparking discussion over how those Czech reserves should be exploited.
The main Czech reserves are sited in the north of the country near the German border at Cínovec and European Metals, an Australian-based company has taken the lead in researching the reserves with plans to exploit them commercially in two to three years. Keith Coughlan is managing director of the company and previously described to Radio Prague the extent of the Cínovec reserves.
"It’s a little over 6.0 million tonnes of LCE, which is Lithium Carbonate equivalent. It’s contained in around 550 million to 600 million tonnes of ore. It’s fairly low concentrations that comes to just over 6.0 million tonnes LCE."
The Social Democrats and centre-right parties though, according to the broadcaster, see less of a problem of a private mining company being involved saying that it has the required know-how.
Social Democrat Minister for Industry and Trade, Jiří Havlíček, told the broadcaster that negotiations are now underway about what sort of public-private cooperation could be sealed with Geomet, the Czech company owned by European Metals. He added that Geomet had along with the research permit a priority position when it comes to mining the local lithium reserves as well.