The deposits lie around Cinovec, a village with a tradition of mining since the 14th century and situated near the border with Germany, the industrial powerhouse at the heart of Europe’s bid to build electric cars and develop battery technology.
The resource, a term used for a deposit whose extent has yet to be proven by exploration, could amount to 1.3 million tonnes, or about 3 percent of the global lithium stock.
Australia’s European Metals wants to start mining by 2019. Daimler, owner of Mercedes-Benz, began construction in May of its second factory for lithium batteries, in Kamenz, a German town 90 km from Cinovec.
Tesla Motors Inc. has also announced plans to build another “Gigafactory” for batteries, possibly in Europe, to match its plant in Nevada, the United States.