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A billion-dollar lithium drilling project claims to revitalize an impoverished region and help the US attain energy independence by mining lithium from an aquifer under the Salton Sea.
More and more salt is being absorbed by Lake Tahoe, the state’s most extensive and most disturbed body of water. It’s no longer a popular vacation spot since demolished once-thriving resorts. Created in 1905, when a levee was broken, the 15-mile-by-35-mile lake was the largest in the Imperial Valley. However, the lake is draining because farmers use less water and less irrigation runoff enters it. San Diego was also a customer of the valley’s water supply.
Open-pit mines, where dynamite is used to blast and crush rock, are required for the majority of the hard rock lithium mining in Australia and China. This lithium production technique is immaculate because the brine has already been brought to the surface. It’s already being used to power turbines and generate energy by removing steam. At the very least, lithium has the potential to save the economy by creating tens of thousands of well-paying employment. There might be enough money to fix the lake’s issues if they occurred.
Seventy-five percent of it is water, and the other twenty-five percent is filth. Solid sludge, to put it mildly. We must find an ecologically and economically feasible way to remove the lithium from the sludge without removing any of the other materials. Weisgall, Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s vice president for government affairs, said the company plans to begin commercial operations in the Salton Sea in 2026, with two demonstration units now in operation at the site.
According to projections, nearly a third of the world’s lithium demand might be met within two years. Lithium might become the “white gold” of the future as manufacturers convert to electric cars. Obtaining it in California could diminish or eliminate U.S. reliance on Chinese supply. This billion-dollar drilling operation aims to revitalize an underprivileged area and assist the United States to achieve energy independence by finding lithium in the brine of an aquifer underneath the lake.
It can be the biggest lithium production plant in the United States, if not the whole world. According to the Imperial Irrigation District, there are now ten geothermal plants and two more lithium extraction operations near the Salton Sea. A heated depression known as the Salton Sink was inundated for two years in 1905, resulting in the lake’s formation. It was a popular tourist attraction in the 1950s, attracting celebrities such as Frank Sinatra. Desert winds transport agricultural contaminants into the lake, located roughly 150 miles southeast of Los Angeles.
Some people want more information before completely accepting a plan that might bring thousands of jobs to the state’s most unemployed area.