Earlier than Raul Flores held “white gold” in his fingertips, he’d tried his hand at different Imperial Valley jobs. He labored as a correction officer within the state jail, he grew medjool dates on ten acres of land and he finally landed a job on the geothermal crops across the Salton Sea.
Then he bought wind that underneath his toes lay sufficient lithium to produce roughly a 3rd of the world’s demand, and he knew that was a recreation changer.
“Lithium equals future,” stated Flores, holding a gleaming chunk of lithium chloride between his fingertips so his classmates might get a greater look.
The crystal in his palms made concrete one thing that has eluded him and the opposite college students, all a part of Imperial Valley School’s inaugural class of aspiring lithium business employees:
The promise of a greater future.
The 49ers soccer jersey Flores wore harkened again to a different period when individuals pinned their hopes and goals on minerals within the earth.
May this be the subsequent gold rush?
A key metallic in batteries that energy electrical vehicles and computer systems, lithium has spiked in worth over the past decade as international demand for the “white gold” has skyrocketed.
The huge, untapped repository in Imperial Valley – price $500 billion by some estimates – might assist make america a brand new — and key — participant within the business worldwide. That’s as a result of virtually all the world’s provide is mined and refined overseas.
Chile sits on nearly all of the world’s untapped reserves, mines in Australia present greater than half of the world’s provide, and China produces over half of the world’s batteries. The U.S. is barely on the chart.
Within the Imperial Valley, corporations working geothermal energy crops on the Salton Sea have identified for years that the brine they’ve been pumping from reservoirs deep within the floor incorporates lithium, however the know-how to extract it and the demand haven’t existed till just lately. At present, each exist. Virtually.
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