A senior official from Iran’s Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade (MIMT) said the country has located what it believes to be the world’s second largest lithium deposit, according to the Iranian state-owned news outlet PressTV.
“For the first time in Iran, a lithium reserve has been discovered in Hamedan,” said the ministry’s senior official Mohammad Hadi Ahmadi last Monday, adding that the deposit was estimated to contain approximately 8.5 million tonnes of lithium ore.
Ebrahimali Molabeigi, head of MIMT’s exploration department said additional lithium deposits were anticipated to be found in the country’s western Hamedan province as well. Ahmadi later added on Sunday that production from two sections of the lithium ore deposit will commence by 2025.
Iran has announced the discovery of its first lithium ore deposit amid extensive exploration activity in the country’s metals and mining sector.https://t.co/TWiBhLwrtW
— Press TV (@PressTV) February 27, 2023
According to Ahmadi, the deposit stretches across 11 square kilometres in the Qahavand Plain located about 50 kilometres east of the province’s capital city, also called Hamedan.
He says the ministry’s discovery of the deposit took almost four years and that the MIMT has been studying the technological capabilities of two unnamed “developed” countries as part of the country’s attempts to start mining lithium through partnerships made with private investors.
If Iran’s claims about the deposit are true, it would be second in size only to Chile’s lithium reserve located in the country’s Atacama Desert — the world’s largest lithium deposit.
According to the World Economic Forum, the top three lithium-producing countries in the world are Australia, Chile and China.
In a report released on Wednesday by ReportLinker, a market researcher based in France, the organization said the global market for lithium would be valued at US$22.6 billion by 2030 and that its value would ascend at a compound annual growth rate of 15.7 per cent between now and then.
Major industry players like Lithium Americas Corp. (TSX: LAC) (NYSE: LAC) and General Motors (NYSE: GM) have invested large sums of money in lithium mining operations.
Lithium Americas (LA) formally commenced construction of the Thacker Pass lithium mine in Nevada last Tuesday after gaining required approval from the United States Bureau of Land Management following controversy and court proceedings. Thacker Pass is the largest known lithium resource in the United States and the project has development capital costs of US$2.2 billion.
General Motors has invested US$650 million in the project to secure a reliable source of lithium for its electric vehicle lineup.
LA stock rose by about one per cent on Wednesday to $32.37 on the Toronto Stock Exchange and General Motors’ share value stayed flat at US$39.74 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Lithium has been gaining popularity in recent years primarily due to advancements in battery technologies and the rising demand for electric vehicles.