The Czech mining village of Cinovec had been a mining town since 1378, but it shut down in 1991 because the shafts were empty of tungsten and tin.
A new bounty is about to be mined there.
Cinovec sits atop a lode of lithium—the metal needed to make rechargeable batteries. It is also used in lubricants, air filters, and medicine.
European Metals Managing Director Keith Coughlan said, “I believe it is a danger for Europe to continue to think that it can rely on Asia for its supply chain of battery related materials and in particular lithium.”
The new mines at Cinovec could produce about 3,800 tons of lithium, making it one of the top five sources in the world.
Engineers discovered the lithium carbonate ore back in the 1960s but there was no demand for it then.