How the US lags behind in lithium, EV “white gold”

There is a lithium supply problem in the United States. Almost all major automakers have announced a move to electric vehicles, Tesla will deliver nearly one million vehicles in 2021, and a few new electric vehicle companies such as Rivian and Lucido will line up new models. I have removed it from.

To power all these EVs, you need a battery — many EVs.

According to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, electric vehicle growth will account for more than 90% of lithium demand by 2030. However, lithium is also found in our phones, computers, ceramics, lubricants and medicines and is essential for the storage of solar and wind energy.

“It’s like the blood of your body. It’s the chemistry behind how lithium-ion batteries work. It continues to be the common denominator of all battery technologies. Power generation batteries. So , That’s a really important factor. “

This important mineral in rechargeable batteries is named “White Gold” and is in a hurry.

Lithium prices have risen 280% since January 2021, and establishing a domestic supply of lithium has become a modern version of oil security. However, according to the United States Geological Survey, the United States is far behind today, with only 1% of the world’s lithium mined and processed in the United States.

Over 80% of the world’s raw lithium is mined in Australia, Chile and China. Also, according to the International Energy Agency, China controls more than half of the world’s lithium processing and purification, and owns three-quarters of the world’s lithium-ion battery megafactory.

But until the 1990s, the United States was a leader in lithium production.

“The lithium industry started in the United States and has been doing well for 50 years,” said Erick Neuman, International Business Manager at Swenson Technology. “We have a lot. The challenge is whether we can produce what we need at an economical and competitive price. It’s difficult.”

Lithium is not a rare element. According to the USGS, the United States has about 8 million tonnes of reserves and is ranked among the top five countries in the world.

However, the only lithium mine operating in the United States is Silver Peak in Albemarle, Nevada.

Last June, the government released a blueprint to rush to start domestic lithium production and refining, and battery production, setting a national EV sales target of 50% by 2030.

Several domestic lithium projects are underway in Nevada, North Carolina, California, Arkansas, and more.

Lithium Americas workers are processing lithium at an R & D lab in Reno, Nevada.

Controlled Thermal Resources is developing a lithium project on the Salton Sea, California. The project will extract lithium from brine pumped through a geothermal energy plant in the region. The Salton Sea was once a popular tourist destination, but the dryness of many of the lakes has made it one of the worst environmental and public health crises in modern history. California calls the region the “Lithium Valley” and is transforming it, hoping to generate the income needed to revive the region.

Last summer, GM announced a multi-million dollar investment in Controlled Thermal Resources, securing the first right to buy domestic lithium for EVs.

Piedmont Lithium wants to revive an old lithium mining area near Charlotte, North Carolina. Piedmont signed a contract to supply Tesla with lithium supplied from its deposits in 2020, but the project is lagging behind due to a permit.

Lithium Americas is planning an open pit mine at Thacker Pass, one of the largest lithium reserves in the United States, within an extinct catastrophic eruption about 200 miles north of Reno, Nevada. Lithium and it are in the final licensing stage.

But no one wants a mine in their backyard, and football passes and other projects have been stalled by lawsuits and opposition from environmentalists, forgiving delays and receiving opposition from Native American tribes in the area. I am.

Watch the video to learn more and take a look inside some of the works’ domestic lithium projects. How the US lags behind in lithium, EV “white gold”

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