Iran has announced the discovery of a massive lithium deposit in one of its western provinces. The announcement comes less than a month after India also laid its claim to what could potentially be one of the world’s largest reserves.
“For the first time in Iran, a lithium reserve has been discovered in Hamedan,” Mohammad Hadi Ahmadi, a senior official at Iran’s Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Trade (MIMT) announced on Iranian television on Saturday.
The ministry estimates the deposit to hold around 8.5 million tons of lithium, which, if true, would make it one of the largest identified lithium reserves. Lithium is one of the most sought-after resources because of its crucial role in the shift away from fossil fuels. The metal is the key component in the production of batteries that power electronic devices and electric vehicles.
The US Geological Survey reports that there are currently about 98 million tons of identified lithium reserves around the world. The countries with the largest reserves so far are Bolivia with 21 million tons, Argentina with 20 million, Chile with 11 million, Australia with 7.9 million, and China with 6.8 million. India estimates its inferred lithium resources to be at around 5.9 million tons.
Whereas India’s lithium discovery was announced after the second of four stages of exploration determined by the United Nations Framework Classification (UNFC) for mineral resources, Iran’s MIMT did not provide any information on the stage of prospecting or any technical details regarding the discovery.
Ahmadi said in the official statement that it would take about four years of preparation for the five-to-six-square-kilometer area of the deposits in the Qahavand Plain, Hamadan to be ready for operation, but did not disclose other details. Much like India’s lithium discovery, the economic significance of Iran’s reserves will only be determined when more information is available.
The addition of India’s and Iran’s reserves to the global lithium market could bring down prices and further accelerate the transition to clean energy. Although for heavily-sanctioned Iran, that would greatly depend on its capacity to export.
Information for this briefing was found via India Express, CNBC, US Geological Survey, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.