December 18, 2018 / 12:46 PM / in a month

Portugal sees first lithium licensing tender in 2019, wants refinery

LISBON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Portugal expects to launch a tender of lithium exploration licences next year, the new secretary of state for energy said on Tuesday, confirming the general outlines of a plan devised under his predecessor, although with a slight delay.

In September, Joao Galamba’s predecessor Jorge Seguro Sanches said he wanted to launch the tender before the end of 2018 as part of a plan to make Portugal Europe’s top supplier of the metal for electric car batteries and meet an expected surge in global demand for lithium.

Galamba, who took over less than two months ago after a wider government reshuffle, also told Reuters the government will look at commitments to invest in a local lithium processing unit as part of the tender process. (Reporting By Sergio Goncalves, writing by Andrei Khalip)

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