Push for new US lithium mine leaves some Americans wary (France 24.com – May 15, 2024)


Lincolnton (United States) (AFP) – When Kristal Lee and her husband bought a house in Gaston County, North Carolina two years ago, they envisioned a “forever home”. But a planned lithium mine is bringing Lee sleepless nights.

Nearby is an area earmarked for a $1.2 billion project to produce battery grade lithium for US electric vehicle (EV) supply chains — one of only a few such sites in the country. “You get very anxious when you hear about it,” she said of the project by Piedmont Lithium.

“We don’t really have an option of moving right now, especially with the economy and inflation.” With President Joe Biden working to build domestic EV and battery industries, companies are seeking supplies in United States — which has major lithium deposits in Nevada, North Carolina and California.

Biden’s aims include furthering the energy transition and lowering dependence on China, which supplies the bulk of global lithium-ion battery exports. Lithium-ion battery demand is set to grow nearly 30 percent annually from 2022-2030, according to McKinsey & Company. However, pushback against Piedmont and others underscore how officials’ efforts leave some residents skeptical.

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