Lithium: The white gold of Portugal

The raw material for lithium-ion batteries has been sought mainly in South America and Australia. Now, international investors are seeing a new hope: Portugal.

Lithium: The white gold of Portugal
  • Page 1 — white gold of Portugal
  • Page 2 — "Jobs would not be bad"
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    This afternoon, piece of land, which regularly brings British entrepreneur David Archer to Swarm, presents itself as a postcard idyll. In far north of Portugal, near border with Spain, cattle graze in shade of pine groves, y exude a sweet and spicy fragrance. It is summer, memory of sluggish idleness would come to mind, re would not be meter-high perforation devices that ramm holes in stony ground.

    "Pretty hot," says Elino Alonso, twisting his eyes to sky. The rmometer shows almost 40 degrees in shade, tomorrow it will be even hotter. Alonso is not on vacation here, but one of men who equipped with protective suits and dust masks David Archer deliver material for his dreams: lithium. In no or country in Europe is re so much of alkali metal without which notebooks, tablets and smartphones would not run, and which is needed in harsh quantities for batteries of e-cars.

    Archer, head of British mining company Savannah Resources, wants to benefit from demand. He has, like almost 40 or entrepreneurs, applied for a license to government in Lisbon to test potential, allowing men like Elino Alonso to drill holes in Portuguese soil. Twelve days without a break, you'll have a weekend off before it goes on.

    Most important occurrence in Europe

    The rapid increase in demand for accumulators, i.e. rechargeable batteries, has tripled price of lithium carbonate over past three years. A ton of "white gold", as one already calls it, currently costs around 12,500 dollars.

    When it is a question of lithium deposits, view has so far focused mainly on South American triangle Chile-Bolivia-Argentina. Only a few days ago a deposit with possibly 2.5 million tonnes of lithium carbonate was discovered in Peru. The raw material is extracted from salt lakes in South America. This is much cheaper to date than in Australia, where large deposits are also secured; The lithium re, however, is bound as a so-called Spodumen in Hard rock. It is similar in nine regions in north and in middle of Portugal. However, lithium boom has changed conditions. Now it also seems worthwhile to drill earth after fabric.

    "Mina do Barroso has developed extremely fast since we set first hole on July 24, 2017," says Savannah chief Archer about a nearly 530 hectare area in district of Boticas in norrn border area of Spain. "At that time we had no concrete estimation of concentration of minerals. Today we are talking about one of most important occurrences in Europe, which is of strategic importance for European industry. " Given growth prospects for production of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and for storage of electricity, "time is perfect to develop a project of size and location".

    At around 100 million euros, Archer estimates investment costs he wants to recoup in less than two years. The test drills have led its experts to more optimistic quantities. After initially expected 6.3 million tonnes, y now expect up to 14 million tonnes of ore. For eleven years, area could be exploited and delivered 175,000 tonnes of Spodumen annually.

    Date Of Update: 07 August 2018, 12:00

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