Europe Aims to Reverse Dependence on China for Electric Battery Mineral

Excerpt from voanews.com

An obscure mountain in the remote far west of Spain could prove to be a game changer in the race to end the West’s dependence on China for a mineral that is key to the world’s future mobility.

Valdeflores, just outside Caceres, a city of about 100,000 inhabitants in Extremadura, a region well off the tourist track, has been designated as the possible site for a lithium mine.

If the plan is approved, it is estimated the site will provide enough of the mineral used in rechargeable batteries to power 400,000 Tesla Model 3 cars every year.

Most important, there will be a processing plant next to the mine to turn the raw mineral into battery-grade lithium – the first in Europe.

Battery-grade lithium is one the minerals that will drive the next generation of electric cars as global economies seek to move away from conventional fuel-powered engines.

Growing demand for electric vehicles has spurred small-scale mining companies seeking lithium, cobalt and rare earths to develop mines and build refining capacity in Europe to reduce their reliance on China.

Picking up the pace

Efforts by the United States and Europe to build a secure and independent supply for the key minerals in electric vehicles, wind turbines and aircraft engines have sped up since the pandemic led to an economic slowdown and shortages.