Japan to subsidize half the costs of lithium, critical minerals projects – report

Electric vehicles charging. (Reference image by Ivan Radic, Flickr).

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will subsidize up to half the cost of mine development and smelting projects for lithium and other critical minerals by Japanese companies, Nikkei Asia reported on Sunday.

Lithium, manganese, nickel, cobalt, graphite and rare earths are reportedly the main targets for support.

The initiative seeks to secure raw materials used in manufacturing electric car engines and batteries. Japan is planning to diversify its supply chains as, like most countries, it is dependent on China for many key minerals.

Geological surveys will determine the profitability and quality of mines to be subsidized, Nikkei reported, adding that the initiative will also cover mine development and smelting operations.

China accounts for 60% to 70% lithium and cobalt processing for battery cathode materials and 70% of graphite processing for anode materials, according to the International Energy Agency. China is also responsible for almost all the world’s rare-earths processing.

Companies receiving the subsidies will be required to continue operations for at least five years from the start of mining and the smelting process, according to the Asian news agency.

The Japanese government is also targeting a sevenfold increase in domestic battery production capacity to an annual 150 gigawatt-hours in 2030.