15 Million Tons of Lithium Found in Thailand? The Truth Behind the Hype
The Thai government announced the discovery of large lithium deposits in southern Thailand, only to tone down the claim two days later. The value of lithium, a key-battery-making material for smartphones and electric vehicles and often referred to as “white oil,” is rapidly increasing.
According to local media outlets such as Bangkok Post on the 21st (local time), Ratchada Thanadirek, the deputy government spokesperson, corrected her previous statement on the government website that a lithium deposit of 14.8 million tons had been discovered in southern Phang Nga province, claiming it was not accurate.
Ratchada clarified “that the 14.8 million tons discovered are the total amount of mineral resources, not lithium. Mineral resources could contain several kinds of minerals, including lithium.”
On the 18th, she cited a report from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, claiming that “Thailand has become the third-largest lithium holder in the world, following Bolivia and Argentina,” with the discovery of 14.8 million tons of lithium.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Bolivia has the most lithium reserves in the world. 14.8 million tons accounts for 64% of the lithium found in Bolivia. Therefore, the announcement of the lithium discovery in Thailand attracted global attention.
However, experts debunked the claim, pointing out that the actual amount of lithium was only about 0.45%, or approximately 66,600 tons, causing controversy. This led the Thai government to clarify the facts again.
Ratchada, the deputy government spokesperson, stated, “The discovery of 14.8 million tonnes of mineral resources is still good news for all Thais, regardless of the amount of lithium found,” adding that they are committed to promoting the EV industry in Thailand to make the country a hub for electric vehicle production.