Sunday, October 1, 2023

They have found a huge lithium deposit that could change the future of the electric car worldwide

The United States is lucky. They have found what is considered the world’s largest lithium deposit to date and it promises to revolutionize the race for this precious material.

In the race to stockpile lithium, a key material to make the batteries that power electric cars, to The United States seems to have won the lottery and found itself, by chance and unexpected, with the largest deposits in the world to date.

A new study, published in the journal Science Advances, estimates that the McDermitt Caldera, a volcanic crater on the border between Nevada and Oregon, houses. between 20 and 40 million metric tons of lithium.

According to these figures, this area eclipses the amount of lithium even in the salt flats of Bolivia, with about 23 million tons.

“If rough estimates are to be believed, this is a very important lithium deposit,” Anouk Borst, a geologist at KU Leuven University, told Chemistry World. “This could change the dynamics of lithium around the world, in terms of price, security of supply and geopolitics.”

A great treasure hidden in the clay and born from a volcanic eruption

Although many of the world’s lithium reserves are in the form of brine, what makes this area, in the Thacker Pass region of southern Nevada, special. stores this precious resource in the form of clay.

The beginning of all this can be traced back to a great volcanic eruption that happened about 16.4 million years ago. During this event, large amounts of lithium and other metals are released.

Over time, The caldera filled with water and sediment, creating a layer of clay that now extends nearly 200 meters underground. The result is a type of clay known as smectite.

But this is only the beginning. When volcanic activity began again, this smectite was greatly enriched, producing a more specialized clay called unpolished, exceptionally rich in lithium.

They explain that the acquisition will also require less effort, which will have a positive effect on the process. However, there is still a long way to go before these valuable resources see the light of day.

Lithium extraction can, depending on the techniques used, release large amounts of carbon dioxide, contaminate groundwater with dangerous heavy metals and consume large amounts of fossil fuels.

Conservation groups have tried to block mining in the area, arguing that it violates the laws of nature. Native American activists also joined the cause, as some local tribes consider this area a sacred place.

Despite all this, a federal court dismissed their appeals in July, and construction of the site began this week, marking the beginning of a new chapter in the race for lithium in the United States.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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