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Thailand’s $1.20 quadrillion mineral wealth: A catalyst for new industrial growth

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Thailand is home to a treasure trove of mineral resources that could significantly boost its economy and spearhead the development of new industries. With an estimated value of 44.41 quadrillion baht (approximately $1.20 quadrillion), the country’s mineral wealth spans across 60 million rai (9.6 million hectares), according to Pichit Sombatmak, director-general of the Mineral Resources Department.

Abundant mineral resources

The country’s mineral deposits are extensive, covering about 19% of Thailand’s landmass and comprising approximately 30 trillion tonnes of various minerals. These resources hold the potential to drive new industrial growth and technological advancements.

Key minerals identified include lithium and quartz, which are critical for the production of modern technologies such as solar panels, electric vehicle (EV) battery cells, and electricity storage systems. Additionally, potash deposits, found primarily in the Northeast, are abundant and can be used to manufacture fertilizers and sodium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.

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Potash: A strategic resource

Thailand’s potash reserves are particularly noteworthy, with an estimated 10 billion tonnes available across 10 key areas. These reserves are valued at around 161 trillion baht. Potash serves as a crucial raw material for producing sodium-ion batteries, which are gaining traction as an alternative to traditional lithium-ion batteries due to their cost-effectiveness and availability of raw materials.

The Mineral Resources Department is optimistic that within the next five years, the government will prioritize the production of sodium-ion batteries, leveraging the country’s significant potash resources. This strategic move could position Thailand as a key player in the global battery industry and contribute to the transition to greener energy solutions.

Exploration and future prospects

The department has also identified 30 prospective sites covering 10 million rai in nine provinces that are rich in rare and valuable minerals. These sites hold the promise of further expanding Thailand’s mineral base and supporting new industries.

Sombatmak’s revelations highlight the untapped potential of Thailand’s mineral wealth and the opportunities it presents for economic growth and industrial diversification. By harnessing these resources, Thailand could not only meet domestic demands but also become a significant exporter of critical minerals and advanced technologies.

Strategic implications

The exploitation and sustainable management of these mineral resources could have far-reaching implications for Thailand’s economy and its role in the global market. Key considerations for the future include:

  1. Economic diversification: Leveraging mineral wealth to develop new industries, particularly in green technology and energy storage, can help diversify Thailand’s economy and reduce dependence on traditional sectors such as agriculture and tourism.
  2. Technological advancement: Investing in the production of high-tech products like EV batteries and solar panels could foster technological innovation and position Thailand as a leader in the global green energy market.
  3. Environmental and social responsibility: It is crucial to manage mineral extraction in an environmentally sustainable manner to minimize ecological impact and ensure that local communities benefit from the economic opportunities generated by mining activities.
  4. Global competitiveness: By capitalizing on its mineral resources, Thailand can enhance its competitiveness in the global marketplace, attract foreign investment, and create new jobs in emerging industries.

In summary, Thailand’s mineral resources represent a significant opportunity for economic development and industrial transformation. With strategic planning and investment, the country can unlock the full potential of these resources, paving the way for a prosperous and sustainable future.

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