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  • Writer's picture@ Cynthia Adina Kirkwood

Lithium-Battery Factory Gets OK in Portugal

Updated: Mar 17

The economy of the Municipality of Sines depends on energy, oil refining port activity, fishing, tourism and trade.


China Aviation Lithium Battery Technology obtained conditional environmental approval for a €2 billion lithium-battery industrial unit in Sines, reported Expresso (March 15).


The project has a capacity of 15 GWh (gigawatt-hours) on land in the Industrial and Logistics Zone of SINES (ZILS), according to the Portuguese Environmental Agency (APA) in its 44-page document issued on March 7. By comparison, a production capacity of 60 gigawatt-hours would supply batteries for about 1 million electric vehicles, Swedish lithium-battery producer, Northvolt, told CNBC (December 29, 2021).


China Aviation Lithium Battery Technology expects to create 1,800 direct jobs, according to Expresso. Production is planned to begin at the end of 2025.


“The industrial subdivision process and the infrastructure of the lot, where the factory will be located, are currently underway, being the responsibility of AICEP Global Parques – Management of Business Areas and Services, S.A., the managing entity of ZILS,” according to the agency document, which states that the work area will consist of about 45 of the approximately 92 hectares.


The Portuguese Environmental Agency deemed the lithium-battery firm’s environmental impact assessment favorable. However, it listed 92 conditions that the company must address in its Environmental Compliance Report of the Execution Project (RECAPE). Among the measures are “the minimization of the felling and destruction of cork oaks and holm oaks, whether isolated or in settled areas”.


In February 2023, China Aviation Lithium Battery Technology (CALB) submitted a Scope Definition Proposal (PDA), which is preparation for an Environmental Impact Assessment, to the Portuguese Environmental Agency. This type of preliminary proposal allows the firm to propose the scope of work to be carried out in the impact assessment. In March 2023, public consultation ended on the proposal.


The Portuguese Environmental Agency said in April 2023 that the lithium battery company needed to elaborate on its proposal content, reported Expresso (July 4, 2023).



China Aviation Lithium Battery Technology


China Aviation Lithium Battery Technology was the third largest Chinese battery manufacturer for electric cars in 2021, according to the China Automotive Power Battery Industry Innovation Alliance, an industry association, reported Lusa (November 3, 2022).


China made about 75 percent of the world’s lithium batteries in 2021, according to the International Energy Agency, reported E&E News, EnergyWire (January 20, 2023), E&E News is owned by Politico.


In December 2021, China Aviation Lithium Battery Technology announced the signing of an agreement with the German real estate and construction consultant, Drees & Sommer, to plan the first factory in Europe, reported Expresso (November 3, 2022).


In 2012, located in Jiangsu, China Aviation Lithium Battery Technology expanded industrial distribution, according to its website. In 2018, it restructured itself to focus on the passenger vehicle market. From 2019 to 2022, the company expanded production facilities into nine other cities in China. In 2022, it was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Market.

According to the firm’s website: “At present, CALB has set up several industrial bases to build industrial clusters in the Yangtze River Delta, Southwest, Central and the Greater Bay Area to achieve a full range of domestic industrial layout, and make overseas industrial layout to become a leading global enterprise!”

The headquarters of CALB USA in in Chino, California.



In the meantime, Northvolt awaits the environmental agency’s decision on its €700 million lithium-conversion project with the Portuguese oil company, Galp, in Setubal Municipality, reported Jornal de Negócios (September 20, 2023).


The plant’s estimated production would deliver lithium hydroxide sufficient for 50 gigawatt- hours, enough for more than 700,000 electric vehicles, according to Northvolt (April 13, 2022).


Lithium Source


On a separate but related issue, what would be the source of lithium for a conversion plant or battery factory in Portugal?


The increased demand for electric cars has propelled lithium into the category of “white gold” as mining companies compete for exploration and extraction contracts around the world. The light metal also is used in batteries for phones and laptops,


However, the economic benefits of lithium have not persuaded most people in Portuguese communities with potentially large lithium deposits to approve of mining. Many residents oppose mining because of air pollution, noise and the enormous demand for water as well as its threat on their way of life.


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@ Cynthia Adina Kirkwood
@ Cynthia Adina Kirkwood
16 Μαρ

You're welcome. The following story outlines the six areas that Portugal approved for lithium exploration: On the top right-hand side of this blog, you can type "lithium" into the search engine for the list of my stories on lithium in Portugal. Also, there is a link to the list in the last sentence of this blog that you can access by clicking on it.

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Ancestral Craft
Ancestral Craft
16 Μαρ

Thank for bringing the issue up for all of us Cynthia! What are the proposed mining areas in Portugal? We live in central, near Viseu.... email:

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