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How the U.S. fell way behind in lithium, ‘white gold’ for EVs


There is a shortage of lithium in the United States. Nearly all major automakers have announced plans to transition to electric cars. Tesla delivered almost one million cars in 2021A few other new companies are also interested in electric vehicles. Rivian LucidWe are currently rolling out new models.

In order to power all of these EVs, we will need batteries — lots of them. 

According to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, electric vehicle growth will account for over 90% of the demand for lithium in 2030. Lithium is found in smartphones, computers and ceramics. This is crucial for wind and solar energy storage.

“It’s just like your blood,” she said. Lithium AmericasJon Evans is CEO. “It’s how lithium-ion battery works. It is the same in all of the batteries technologies. We are currently looking into next-generation battery technology. It is a crucial element.

The name white gold has been given to this vital mineral used in rechargeable batteries.

It price of lithium is soaringThis is an increase of 280% from Jan. 2021. Creating a national supply of lithium has been the new-day equivalent of oil security. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, only 1% is currently mined or processed in America.

Australia, Chile, China and China are home to more than 80 percent of the world’s lithium. China also controls over half the global lithium refining and processing. According to the International Energy Agency, it has three-fourths the global lithium-ion megafactories.

However, up until the 1990s, America was still the world’s leader in lithium production.

“The lithium industry started in the U.S. and had a good run for 50 years,” said Erick Neuman, the international business manager for with Swenson Technology. We do have lots. It is difficult to produce the goods we want at a reasonable and fair price. That’s hard.”

The rare element of lithium isn’t a problem. The US has nearly 8 million tonnes of Lithium in its reserves, making it one of the five most powerful countries on the planet, according to USGS.

There is however only one active lithium mine in America. AlbemarleNevada’s Silver Peak

The following June saw the administration released a blueprintFor domestic lithium refining and production, as well as for battery manufacturing.

Many domestic lithium projects are underway in Nevada and North Carolina as well in California and Arkansas.

A Lithium Americas worker processes lithium at the company’s Reno, Nevada R&D lab.

Controlled Thermal Resources will develop a lithium-extraction project at Salton Sea, California. It will use brine pumping up from geothermal energy stations in the region. Salton Sea once belonged to the United States. a hot tourist destination, but has become one of the worst environmental and public health crises in modern historyThe lake dried up a lot because of dry conditions. California has begun to revitalize the region, calling it the “Lithium Valley”.

This summer GM announced a multi-million-dollar investment in Controlled Thermal ResourcesIt has also been granted the first right to buy lithium from domestic producers for its electric vehicles.

Piedmont LithiumA plan is being made to revitalize an area of North Carolina lithium mining near Charlotte. Piedmont signed a deal in 2020 to supply Tesla with lithium sourced from its deposits there, but the project has hit delays due to permitting.

Lithium Americas has plans to build an open-pit mine in Thacker Pass. This is an area that is about 200 mi north of Reno (Nevada) and contains one of America’s most significant lithium reserves. This site is currently in its final permitting phase and will manage both the extraction and refinement of lithium.

Thacker Pass is not a project anyone wants in their yard. Environmentalists have filed lawsuits against Thacker Pass as well as delays in permitting and opposition by Native American tribes.

You can watch the video for more information and an exclusive look at the current domestic lithium projects.