Critics of electric cars would like you to believe that all of the mining for all of the minerals needed in EVs is performed by environmentally destructive means. This may not be an entirely accurate representation of the actual mining and extraction process that gets the lithium necessary for your Li-Ion battery. And the processes are getting cleaner all the time.
Lithium is needed to make batteries for electric cars. Right now, most lithium comes from Australia—51,000 tons of it in 2019. Second-highest producer of lithium is Chile with 16,000 tons.
The list drops off precipitously from there. But the world is going to need a lot more very soon, especially carmakers such as GM, which, along with many if not most of the world’s carmakers has pledged to go all-EV very soon, GM by 2035.
So GM has just signed an innovative agreement with a company called Controlled Thermal Resources to extract Lithium from superheated waters beneath the Salton Sea in the desert of Southern California.
The Salton Sea is an ancient water pocket that has been formed and dried up both naturally and by man-made mistake several times over millennia. It was a part of the Sea of Cortez between Baja California and Mainland Mexico millions of years ago.
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