Saudi Arabia Targets Lithium For EV Goals

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Saudi Arabia has begun investigating techniques to extract lithium from seawater and saline byproducts of oil production, working in partnership with Aramco. The outcomes of these efforts are still unclear.

Saudi Arabia is actively seeking lithium sources internationally to support its aspirations in electric vehicle (EV) production, as highlighted by Bandar Alkhorayef, the Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, during an interview. He noted that efforts to establish local lithium supplies are still in the preliminary phases.

The nation, traditionally dependent on oil revenues, has committed substantial investments towards becoming a central player in EV manufacturing. This initiative is part of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s broader strategy to diversify the economy.

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In a conversation with Reuters at the World Economic Forum’s special meeting in Riyadh, Alkhorayef emphasized lithium’s critical role in battery production and its essential place in the supply chain, declaring Saudi Arabia’s focus on not neglecting this vital mineral. He pointed out that while Saudi Arabia has embarked on projects to extract lithium from seawater and oil field brine in cooperation with Aramco, the success of these ventures is not yet guaranteed.

Alkhorayef acknowledged some positive developments but stressed that more effort is required. He underscored the importance of locating sufficient deposits with adequate concentrations for economic extraction, observing that current data from Saudi Arabia does not yet support feasibility.

In the previous year, the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) and the leading mining company, Ma’aden, launched Manara Minerals, a joint venture aimed at investing in mining operations globally.

With a confident outlook, Alkhorayef mentioned Saudi Arabia’s strategies to meet its natural resource needs through local production, imports, or through international investments like those undertaken by Manara Minerals.

The Saudi embassy in Santiago has shown interest in potential investments in Chile’s mining sector, especially concerning lithium, although specifics are still under wraps.

Alkhorayef also mentioned that he was not aware of any ongoing discussions with Chile about lithium licenses.

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Aryaman Raghuvanshi
Aryaman Raghuvanshi
Aryaman Raghuvanshi is a Journalist at EFY. His passion is to explore the future of mobility, which gets him to cover latest technologies shaping the future of automobiles and EVs. But, at times he writes on broader technologies too. LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aryaman-raghuvanshi-2431b7153

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