California finds a lakebed full of lithium

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The Future. California’s shrinking Salton Sea lake bed has a surprise — 18 million metric tons of lithium suspended in its hot geothermal brine, which is the biggest concentration in the world. The mining could put EV adoption in the US back on track by drastically lowering the price of vehicles.

Drought power-up
The discovery of lithium in the Salton Sea might turn California into “the Saudi Arabia of lithium,” according to Governor Gavin Newsom.

  • On top of becoming self-sufficient in the mineral, the US could go from producing less than 1% of the world’s lithium to over 50%.
  • The lithium deposits could power 375 million EV batteries, as well countless other battery-using devices, such as smartphones and laptops.
  • It could add nearly a trillion dollars to the state economy and create an estimated 81,000 jobs in Imperial County, which has a high poverty and unemployment rate.

Three firms are competing to mine the lake, but the right tech needs to be made to lift the material from its corrosive environment — the lake’s brine is already harvested for steam energy, but the exposed lake shore (thanks, draught) has made the area toxic.

But there might be some competition. Companies mining the McDermitt Caldera that extends from Nevada to Oregon claim that it has the largest lithium supply not just in the US, but in the world. No matter who’s right, it’s a win for America.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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