Government Seeks Launch of Lithium Mining in Usti Region
Plans for lithium mining were discussed at the cabinet’s meeting in Kadan. Credit: vlada.cz.
Kadan, North Bohemia/Prague, 21 Sept (CTK) – The Czech government is doing everything possible for lithium mining to be launched in Krusne hory in the Usti Region, PM Petr Fiala (ODS) said during the cabinet’s visit to the region yesterday.
He said that cooperation between the investor and the regional government was essential for the project.
Fiala said lithium, which is used to produce car batteries, is a strategic raw material and essential for the economic revival of the country. According to Industry and Trade Minister Jozef Sikela (STAN), negotiations with three investors to build a car battery factory in the Czech Republic are at an advanced stage.
The government wants a representative in the working group on lithium mining, said Fiala, who met with representatives of municipalities affected by the mining in the village of Kostany.
According to Fiala, all the participants in the debate clearly expressed that they are aware of the importance of mining and do not want to block the project. “What they want is for us to set the conditions and rules and the whole project in such a way that it takes into account the interests of the locals, citizens and the whole region,” Fiala said after the cabinet meeting in Kadan.
The deep lithium mining is being prepared by Geomet, a company which is majority-owned by the Severoceske doly mining company, a member of the CEZ group. The deposit near Cinovec in the Teplice region is the largest in Europe. Production is expected to start between 2026 and 2028.
Some local mayors have criticised the lack of information about the plan. “That is why there will be a government representative on the working group,” Fiala said.
The aim of yesterday’s meeting, he said, was to set up a communication model so that the region and municipalities would have enough information.
The extracted lithium could be used to produce batteries for electric cars. Sikela said yesterday that negotiations on the car battery factory with three investors were at an advanced stage. “We cannot disclose the name of the potential investor, but one of the projects could be in the Usti Region,” he said.
In addition, the government is holding further preliminary talks with investors in areas related to lithium mining, Sikela added.
The government mainly dealt with regional issues at its meeting in Kadan, but the upcoming draft 2024 state budget for next year was also discussed at a press conference after the meeting.
Fiala said he expects the cabinet to approve the budget on 27 September. He confirmed that he wants to maintain the proposed budget deficit of CZK 252 billion, lower by CZK 43 billion than the deficit projected for 2023.
The government began a series of trips to the regions in March, when it held talks in Jesenik in the Olomouc Region; in June it visited Vimperk in South Bohemia. Yesterday’s visit to the Usti Region may not be the last this year. “We are trying to have three to four such meetings during the year. We have already had three, and the fourth one could also happen this year,” Fiala told reporters.