The ČEZ power utility, which is 70% owned by the state, will explore the
possibilities of lithium mining at Cínovec in the Ore Mountains.
The company will give European Metals Holdings (EMH), which has a prospecting license to mine lithium in the area, a loan of two million euros (51.2 million CZK) and by the end of the year, decide whether to enter the company or have the loan returned.
The Czech Republic has the biggest lithium reserves in Europe and many politicians have pushed for lithium mining in the country to be in the hands of a state-run company.
The Australian-based mining company European Metals Holdings is continuing with preparations for lithium mining in the Czech Republic, despite the fact that the Czech government does not consider the memorandum on the extraction and processing of lithium, signed with EMH last year, legally binding and wants a Czech state-run company to mine and process the deposits. The company Geomet, which is part of EMH, has begun preparations for a series of drills near Cínovec in order to ascertain the economic viability of the project.
The state enterprise Diamo should become actively involved in a project to
mine lithium at Cínovec in Northern Bohemia, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš
said on Tuesday. He made the statement in response to reports on Monday
that the Australian firm European Metals Holdings had acquired permission
from the Czech authorities to begin 13 test drills, an important step in
ascertaining the viability of the project.
Mr. Babiš said he would meet the ministers of the environment and industry and trade to discuss the matter. He said Diamo would have to be forced to be more active as it had done nothing to date.
The Czech state had signed a memorandum with European Metals Holdings on exploiting the mine but that was abrogated by Mr. Babiš’s government.
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.
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.