In a groundbreaking discovery that could revolutionize the global lithium market, scientists unearthed the world’s largest lithium deposit in an ancient supervolcano straddling the Nevada-Oregon border.
This monumental find could potentially shift the dynamics of lithium supply and pricing worldwide, offering a significant boost to America’s energy independence.
The McDermitt Caldera, a crater formed 19 million years ago, is believed to hold the most substantial lithium reserves globally.
The caldera, which last erupted 16 million years ago, is thought to contain up to 40 million metric tons of lithium-rich clay, nearly double the amount found in Bolivia’s salt flats, previously considered the world’s richest lithium source.
A new major lithium deposit has been found in the USA inside of a volcano crater.
Estimates range from 20-40 million tons of Lithium in Nevada.
This is now the biggest deposit known on earth, ahead of Bolivia. pic.twitter.com/eYMhMr53Wk
— Lark Davis (@TheCryptoLark) September 11, 2023
Lithium, a critical component in batteries powering everything from smartphones to electric vehicles and solar panels, has been predominantly controlled by China, refining 90% of the mined metal.
This discovery could significantly alter this dynamic, providing the U.S. with a domestic source of this crucial element.
However, the extraction plan has faced criticism due to concerns about the environmental impact of mining and claims the site is on sacred Native American land.
Despite these concerns, experts argue the extraction process would only require water to remove clay, which will then be leached to extract lithium.
The significance of this discovery cannot be overstated. Anouk Borst, a geologist at KU Leuven University, stated the following:
“If you believe their back-of-the-envelope estimation, this is a very, very significant deposit of lithium. It could change the dynamics of lithium globally, in terms of price, security of supply, and geopolitics.”
The U.S. currently imports hundreds of millions of lithium-ion batteries each year, with China accounting for most of these imports. The discovery of a domestic lithium source could significantly reduce this dependence, aiding the U.S. in its quest for energy independence.
🔋An estimated 40 million metric tons of Lithium has been found in the McDermitt Caldera (located near the Nevada-Oregon border).
-Due to regulations, the US share of lithium production is down from 37% in 1995 to 1% in 2021.
-Lawsuits initially delayed the opening of this… pic.twitter.com/qtOGqn1uAO
— Wise Squirrel (@WiseSquirrel_) September 11, 2023
However, the extraction of lithium is not without its challenges. The process uses a significant amount of water and can lead to long-term ecological damage.
Furthermore, Native American tribes claim the land is sacred, and they are pushing back against mining efforts.
Despite these challenges, the potential benefits of this discovery are immense. As the U.S. transitions towards clean energy and electric vehicles, the demand for lithium is set to skyrocket.
Having a domestic source of lithium could be a game-changer, helping the U.S. achieve energy independence and secure its place as a leader in the global clean energy revolution.
While the discovery of the world’s largest lithium deposit in the McDermitt Caldera presents both opportunities and challenges, it represents a significant step forward in America’s journey toward energy independence.