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‘Oil of the 21st century’: Iran discovers large lithium deposit

Iran has announced the discovery of a large deposit of lithium, a key component of batteries for electric vehicles and electronic devices, state media reported.

“For the first time in Iran, a lithium reserve has been discovered in Hamedan”, in the west of the country, state television quoted Mohammad Hadi Ahmadi, an official with the ministry of industry, mines and trade, on Saturday.

This reserve is believed to hold “8.5 million tonnes” of lithium, according to the director-general of the ministry’s operating department. 

Dubbed the “oil of the 21st century”, lithium is essential for the manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles, which should allow cars to wean themselves off CO2-emitting oil.

This white metal is also an essential component of rechargeable batteries used in cell phones and other electronic devices.

According to a United States Geological Survey (USGS) report published in 2022, a total of 89 million tonnes of lithium have been identified worldwide. Australia, Chile, Argentina and China are the main producers.

In 2022, lithium prices skyrocketed due to rising component prices and general inflation, as demand for cleaner means of travel increased around the world.

Iran, whose economy is battered by severe international sanctions, particularly imposed by the United States, has substantial natural resources reserves, including gas, oil, copper, and iron.

READ MORE: The race for lithium is now a matter of national security

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