Turkey is set to start lithium production for the first time in its under-construction plant in the country's northwestern province of Eskisehir, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez announced on Monday.
Speaking during a visit to Eti Maden Technology Development Center, Donmez said production at the plant for the element used in cell and battery technologies would start shortly following the completion of the plant's construction, which began this year.
Turkey's inroad in lithium production will start on a small scale of 10 tonnes per year, but this is expected to rise to nearly 500 tonnes in two to three years, according to Donmez.
Given that Turkey's lithium imports are nearly 1,200 tonnes annually, this represents a considerable volume in domestic production and in import savings, which Donmez said are more expensive.
He stressed that the lithium will be used in critical technologies in cell and software for electric vehicles, but particularly in Turkey's first domestically produced all-electric vehicle.
By 2030, Turkey's Automobile Joint Venture Group (TOGG) will produce and own the intellectual and industrial property rights of five different electric vehicle models in Turkey - SUV, b-SUV, sedan, c-hatchback, and b-MPV.
In June 2018, five industrial giants: the Anadolu Group, BMC, Kok Group, Turkcell, and Zorlu Holding as well as an umbrella organization, the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, joined hands to form TOGG.
The factory, once completed in 18 months, will have the capacity to produce 175,000 vehicles per year.
Reporting by Murat Temizer
Writing by Ebru Sengul Cevrioglu