Saudi Arabia Pursues Lithium to Fuel EV Ambitions – ET Auto


Alkhorayef stated that he was unaware of any discussions with Chile regarding its lithium licenses.

Saudi Arabia is focused on obtaining lithium from abroad for its electric vehicle (EV) ambitions, according to a senior minister. Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Alkhorayef stated in an interview that attempts to secure domestic supplies were in early stages.

The kingdom, heavily reliant on oil for its economy, has invested billions to become a hub for EV manufacturing as part of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s economic diversification efforts.

“Lithium is a crucial mineral, especially for batteries,” Alkhorayef told Reuters during the World Economic Forum’s special meeting in Riyadh. He emphasized the importance of lithium in the supply chain and expressed confidence that Saudi Arabia couldn’t afford to overlook it.

Saudi Arabia has started exploring methods to extract lithium from seawater and salinated discharges from oil fields, in collaboration with Aramco. However, the success of these initiatives remains uncertain.

“There are encouraging signs, but more work needs to be done,” Alkhorayef said. He highlighted the need for sufficient deposits and concentration for economic feasibility, noting that the evidence in Saudi Arabia was still insufficient.

Last year, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and Ma’aden, the flagship mining company, formed a joint venture named Manara Minerals to invest in mining assets abroad.

Alkhorayef expressed confidence in meeting Saudi Arabia’s natural resource needs through domestic production, imports, or investments like Manara’s ventures abroad.

Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Santiago has expressed interest in discussing potential investments in Chile’s mining sector, particularly regarding lithium, though details remain undisclosed.

Alkhorayef stated that he was unaware of any discussions with Chile regarding its lithium licenses.

  • Published On Apr 29, 2024 at 11:10 AM IST

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