There is a large-scale basin in the desert of northern Nevada and Southern Oregon which has been bought up by a development and mining exploration company. The clay available in the ancient lake bed here is extremely rich in lithium and based on early exploratory results the open pit mine could represent one of the largest non-lithium supplies in North America.
The mining company is currently exploring options and finding the richest deposits available to start the mine. The day-to-day mining would be run by lithium Nevada which is a subsidiary of lithium Americas. Approval for this project has been held up with the coronavirus and but with the pretesting and initial studies completed we are seeing the project now moving to more of an exploratory phase towards the future of development for the mining site.
Lithium has typically been shipped into the United States or extracted from saline areas which is often a more expensive technique. A newer technique using sulfuric acid to extract lithium from the clay will mean that it will be easier to harvest lithium from this area and at a much cheaper/ more efficient rate.
Lithium is the world’s lightest metal and it’s also a crucial element to modern electronics like tablets, batteries, cell phones and more. Lithium-ion battery technology is crucial to driving the future of solar development and electric vehicles. If we were able to produce lithium in the United States we could bring down the cost of a massive number of electronics and environmental items that we use daily.
Under the new extraction methods the federal government is fast tracking lithium mining projects. This project in Nevada has been sped up significantly and many are suggesting that the project hasn’t been given the appropriate amount of time for environmental testing or how it will affect the local indigenous community.
Nevertheless the project is continuing to fast-track with many employees on site working to get the mine operational or performing exploratory studies to find the richest deposits in the area. There are many people on site working 24 hours a day to get this mine operational and to start producing lithium.
As the Nevada lithium mining continues to build up, we will start to see a number of opportunities in this region for jobs as well as future manufacturing supports with the close supply of lithium in north America.
This post was written by Justin Tidd, Director at Becker/SMC. For nearly a half a century, Becker Mining has been at the forefront of safety, producing the best E-House in the industry. Becker/SMC is the industry’s leader in increasingly more sophisticated electrical control systems. Most of the major innovations, design features and specialized electrical components have been developed by Becker/SMC.