Pan Asia Metals (ASX:PAM) earlier this week delivered an updated exploration target for the Bang I Tum Lithium prospect in Thailand which now stands at 16-25 million tonne (Mt) @ 0.40-0.70 lithium oxide (Li2O).
This represents a circa 80-100% increase in tonnage to the previous exploration target of 8-14Mt @ 0.5-0.8 Li2O).
Speaking in a webinar session today (12 July 2023), Managing Director Paul Lock explores the power of Pan Asia Metals and its “revolutionary impact on the EV industry in Southeast Asia”.
He says the potential quantity and grade of the exploration target are conceptual in nature, and there has been insufficient exploration for a Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) to date.
However, the MD tells the webinar he and the emerging diversified clean energy company are bullish of the opportunities ahead.
One aspect Lock notes is the location of Pan Asia’s assets in Thailand and how Southeast Asia as a region is leading the way in terms of its uptake in various electric vehicles, particularly bikes.
He says that bodes particularly well for companies such as Pan Asia which is seeking to have exposure across the whole battery metals supply chain from the minegate to the manufacturing and processing sectors.
“If you go to Southeast Asia and places in Southeast Asia, you’ll see electronic bikes on the road”
“If you go to Southeast Asia and places in Southeast Asia, you’ll see electronic bikes on the road. Now, there’s a fantastic range of brands. It’s actually quite an exciting market, but not very well understood.”
According to the UN Environment Programme, over 80% of households in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam own motorcycles. In the 6 largest economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), sales of motorcycles and scooters have reached about 14+ million and only China and India have generated more sales.
Lock also notes that countries in Southeast Asia are increasingly looking to adopt electronic bikes to move away from fuel-guzzlers.
The UN Environment Programme adds that, for example, Thailand is aiming to produce 53,000 electric motorcycles by 2025 and is seeking a trade-in scheme to make electric vehicles cheaper. Indonesia plans to phase-out conventional motorcycles from 2025, while Malaysia and other countries have developed extensive motorcycle-only infrastructure that encourages their uptake.
Addressing the webinar, Lock also talks about the cost environment operating in Asia and the typical cost structure for a lithium conversion facility in a Western environment.
He says typically about 35% of costs is in reagents, 35% in energy, 15% in labour, and 15% in other.
“Power analysis suggests that labour in Southeast Asia is up to 50-80% lower. Energy is up to 50% lower, with a lot of hydro, wind, and solar energy available. So, this is what’s driving manufacturing and processing in Asia traditionally.
And with EV, it’s a much lower cost environment. This is why Pan Asia is focusing on Asia for development of its mining assets and also processing assets. When we look at Southeast Asia, the key markets are Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia. We can see there is a massive amount of activity here, which is also not well understood.”
The MD says just about every key global brand, including battery and car brands, have something manufactured in Southeast Asia, which highlights the attractiveness of the region for investment.
“So it’s quite an exciting market.”
The MD also tells the webinar that in terms of a value proposition within Pan Asia, the board and management own nearly half the company, which “means that there’s a lot of skin in the game”.
“If we make a mistake, it hurts us just as much as it hurts you (investors), so it’s all about weighing up capital management, which we focus on.”
Write to Adam Orlando at Mining.com.au
Images: Pan Asia Metals Ltd