Iran says it’s discovered a massive deposit of lithium — a key element in batteries for devices and electric vehicles — in one of its western provinces.
“For the first time in Iran, a lithium reserve has been discovered in Hamedan,” a mountainous province in the country’s west, Mohammad Hadi Ahmadi, an official at Iran’s Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade, was quoted as saying on Iranian state television Saturday.
The ministry believes the deposit holds 8.5 million tons of lithium, which is often called “white gold” for the rapidly growing electric vehicle industry. If the claimed figure is accurate, that would make the deposit the second-largest known lithium reserve in the world after Chile, which holds 9.2 million metric tons of the metal, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The lucrative element is a crucial component in the cathodes of lithium-ion batteries in EVs, as well as in rechargeable batteries like those used in cellphones. The metal’s price has skyrocketed in the last year due to higher demand for electric vehicle parts, global supply chain problems and inflation, but fell more recently, undergoing a correction amid a drop in EV sales and slow business activity in China, the fastest-growing EV market.
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