Andrej Babiš, the prime minister in resignation and ANO leader, says the
Czech state should exploit the country’s lithium deposits. He told
journalists on Wednesday that the government wished to task the state
enterprise Diamo with ascertaining how much of the mineral the country
Mr. Babiš says a memorandum signed by a previous Czech government and European Metals Holdings on the mining of lithium is nonsensical and invalid. However, he says the government’s lawyers will have to decide on how to proceed on the matter.
Mr. Babiš says that his minister of industry, Tomáš Hüner, acted wrongly by saying he would sign an addendum to the memorandum with the Australian firm without first informing the government.
The Czech Republic and the Australian-based metals company, European Metals Holdings (EMH) will sign an addendum to the memorandum on lithium mining in the Czech Republic, the outgoing Minister of Industry and Trade Tomáš Hüner said following talks on Thursday with EMH representatives and the Czech firm Geomet, which holds a prospecting license for natural resources at the Cínovec mining site in the north of the country.
Czech minister of industry and trade, Tomáš Hüner, met with
representatives of Australian mining company, European Metals Holdings
(EMH), over future lithium mining in the Czech Republic.
In a statement after Thursday’s meeting in Prague, the ministry said that EMH had agreed to sign an additional clause over a previously agreed memorandum on lithium mining.
The memorandum blew up as one of the major issues in October’s parliamentary elections with ANO leader Andrej Babiš accusing Social Democrat leaders of betraying the company by selling off its mineral assets cheaply.
The memorandum covered the Australian company’s plans for extracting lithium in the far north of the country near the German border at Cínovec where reserves are believed to be among the biggest in Europe. Lithium is used for batteries in electric cars and other applications related to renewable energy.
The Czech Republic is looking to open fresh talks with Australian-based
metals company, European Metals Holdings (EMH) over its plans to extract
lithium in the country. Minister of Industry and Trade Tomáš Hüner has
said that a meeting with company bosses should take place within two weeks
at the latest.
A memorandum over lithium mining and processing signed by the previous government will not be cancelled for the moment, the minister added.
The question of lithium mining and the memorandum became one of the main points of conflict in October’s elections to the lower house of parliament with the ANO party of current prime minister, Andrej Babiš, accusing the Social Democrats of selling out the country’s interests.
The Czech Republic is estimated to have some of the biggest lithium reserves in Europe.
A booming economy on the back of higher wages, more people in jobs, and strong exports – fuelled largely by the auto sector - and hardly dimmed by the end of the low crown and resurrection of interest rates as a central bank weapon. That was the big economic picture of the Czech economy in 2017 with the foot on the pedal likely to be lifted just slightly over the coming 12 months.
A Czech inventor is behind what is claimed to be a revolutionary lithium battery which could be the answer to the world’s energy storage problems. And the dream of inventor Jan Procházka is now taking shape with a high tech factory being constructed for the production of those small, high powered but low cost batteries in the far east of the Czech Republic.
The CEO of Australian company European Metals Holdings, Keith Coughlan, has
said the company wants to negotiate the possibility of extraction of
lithium at Cínovka in Teplice in the Ore Mountains with the new
government. According to the CEO, EMH is ready to meet the obligations of a
memorandum signed by the Social Democrat Minister of Industry Jiří
Havlíček and the company at the beginning of October.
The firm has already negotiated with the state enterprise Diamo. It is unclear what tack the next government will take. Lithium mining in the Czech Republic became a heavily politicized issue ahead of the recent election. In the run-up, Andrej Babiš, whose ANO won the election, several times labelled the memorandum as theft.