By Kosaku Narioka

Mitsui & Co. plans to invest $30 million in Nasdaq-listed lithium mine developer Atlas Lithium in a bid to ensure stable supply of the key mineral used in electric-vehicle batteries.

The Japanese trading company said Thursday that it signed agreements for its equity investment and the right to offtake spodumene concentrate, or lithium ore, from Atlas.

The Florida-based company is developing its Neves lithium mine project in Brazil, which is scheduled to begin production in the fourth quarter of this year. Annual production is expected to reach 300,000 tons of spodumene concentrate, enough for about 1.0 million EVs, Mitsui said.

The development of a reliable supply chain for lithium has become vitally important from an economic security perspective, as lithium has been designated as a critical mineral in many countries, the company said.

Write to Kosaku Narioka at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

03-28-24 0201ET