This Lithium Mine may launch the U.S. to battery dominance


In the heart of Imperial Valley, California, a project by Australian firm Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) and Lilac Solutions is setting the stage for a major shift in the availability of lithium in the U.S.—and possibly around the world.

The project takes place in the Salton Sea, a shrinking lake north of the California-Mexico border home to a lithium reserve capable of fulfilling the entirety of the U.S.’s and 40 percent of the world’s projected lithium demand. The reserve has the potential to produce “over 600,000 tons” of lithium resources a year, Rod Colwell, CEO of CTR, told CNBC.

“The U.S. is still in the beginning phase,” Erik Desormeaux, director of application development at energy efficiency firm Energy Recovery, Inc, told The Daily Beast. “Even though a lot of the innovation and battery technology started here, most of the mining, processing, and manufacturing still happens overseas. In the future they’re projecting a lot more lithium demand than supply, which is opening up more opportunities for lithium mining in the U.S..”

The $1.8-billion Hell’s Kitchen lithium-geothermal project, which will use CTR’s lithium extraction plant and Lilac’s ion-exchange technology, will potentially reduce dependency on lithium imports and fuel the growth of electric vehicles. Localizing lithium extraction allows the U.S. to ensure a more secure supply of this critical raw material—reducing dependency on foreign sources. This also aligns with broader goals like achieving energy independence and meeting climate change commitments. Local lithium production can also increase competitiveness of American-made EVs and related technologies on the global market.

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