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.
Unions at the Czech Republic’s biggest car maker, Škoda Auto, have
tabled a demand for pay rises this year of 18 percent.
They have asked for a 14 percent increase in the basic wage and a further 4.0 percent rise related to personal evaluations. Unions are also seeking to repeat last year’s practice where two special one off payments totalling around 90,000 crowns. The average wage for a car worker last year was around 40,000 crowns a month.
A new deal should be in place by April 1 to cover the following 12 months. Škoda Auto employs around 30,000 people at its three Czech plants.
The number of cars on Czech roads exceeded 5.5 million last year, according
to data released by the Car Importers Association on Wednesday.
The number of passenger cars in the car registry reached 5.6 million at the end of December 2017, an increase by 224,000 on the previous year. The average age of cars in the Czech Republic has increased year-on-year from 14.48 years to 14.62 years.
The Czech auto sector, both cars and components, is booming. But the boom is not shared equally between the country’s biggest producers. While the biggest manufacturer, Škoda Auto, is hard pressed to keep up with demand, Hyundai saw production drop slightly last year and the trend is set to continue in 2018.
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.