Will California’s ban on the sales of gas-powered vehicles increase our reliance on foreign energy and further raise new car costs? EVs run on lithium ion batteries. But we still don’t have enough domestic lithium for even one automaker’s battery factories. Instead, most of it is coming from China, Australia and South America. And their lithium prices are surging.
Skyrocketing costs and higher demand for lithium ion batteries could price EVs out of reach for many consumers. Higher lithium costs could also raise prices for everything from our computers to cell phones. Thankfully, there are companies dedicated to helping the U.S. regain control of our clean energy initiatives by creating a secure, environmentally responsible domestic lithium supply chain. And one has just reached a fantastic milestone.
Promising news about our precarious lithium supply
“The U.S. is facing a serious crisis when it comes to a domestic supply of lithium,” confirms lithium industry executive Steve Hanson. “We need solutions … and quickly. Fortunately, a lot is happening in Nevada that’s really positive for the lithium industry.” Clayton Valley, Nevada is currently the only region where lithium is produced in the United States.
ACME Lithium is one step closer to helping meet our growing lithium demand. Backed by some of the top lithium investors and institutions in North America, the company has discovered a new lithium brine source in Clayton Valley, Nevada. It is contiguous to the Albemarle Silver Peak Lithium Mine, which has been in production since 1966.
Water samples recently analyzed independently at a nationally recognized lab show great promise, and have similarities in content and grade to lithium produced at nearby Silver Peak. “There are only a handful of lithium brine discoveries in the United States. This discovery is incredibly significant because it demonstrates ACME’s vision of being a new domestic supplier of lithium to the U.S. and Canada,” says Hanson, ACME’s founder, CEO and president.
The company is immediately proceeding with phase two of the project, which will further establish the suitability of this discovery to become a viable lithium resource. That would ultimately lead to feasibility studies as well as local, state and federal permitting to go into production.
The significance of lithium brine
Lithium deposits can be found in aqueous brine, as well as in trace amounts in hard rock and clay. Should this project come to full fruition, ACME intends to use a technology called direct lithium extraction (DLE) because of its major environmental advantages.
“New technology is enabling us to extract resources in a more sustainable and environmental way,” says Hanson. “With DLE, lithium brine is brought up from aquifers underground, piped through a small plant where the lithium is extracted, then the water is returned to the aquifer through an injection well. This method has the smallest footprint and the lowest environmental impact.”
The White House confirms a domestic lithium supply chain is critical
In a statement released February 2021, the White House stated: “Critical minerals provide the building blocks for many modern technologies and are essential to our national security and economic prosperity These minerals — such as rare earth elements, lithium, and cobalt — can be found in products from computers to household appliances.
“… As the world transitions to a clean energy economy, global demand for these critical minerals is set to skyrocket by 400-600 percent over the next several decades, and, for minerals such as lithium and graphite used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries, demand will increase by even more — as much as 4,000 percent. While most people take their lithium-ion batteries for granted, the U.S. government has stated that having an ample domestic lithium supply is critical to the U.S. economy and national defense system.”
Hanson hopes the U.S. government’s focus will help clear some of the red tape that may ultimately delay more domestic lithium production. “Based on what we see happening right now, the timeline needs to be shortened. The only way that can happen is if government and regulatory bodies invest in key human resources and move at a faster pace while ensuring the proper environmental, safety and interests by key shareholders are met.”
He reminds us, “Lithium has strong potential to benefit communities by creating jobs and providing the funding for our roads, schools and overall infrastructure. As countries rush to secure a long-term supply of lithium, the U.S. and Canada can – and should – exert leadership positions.”
For more information about lithium, visit www.ACMElithium.com.