Researchers from University of Wyoming discovered new deposits of lithium in the Rock Springs Uplift in southern Wyoming. The amount of the element is thought to be sufficient to meet the annual U.S. demand, exceeding twice the reserves of the largest lithium producer in Nevada.
Although lithium can be recycled and does now disappear from the environment as oil and gas do, there is an increasing concern that the dependency of our society on the metal is becoming too high.
A new source of lithium, therefore, could just be the key to lowering prices as availability raises. This will also boost the popularity of plug-in hybrids and fully electrical cars, which is anyhow increasing.
Considering that the U.S. now imports around 80% of the lithium it uses. The Rock Spring Uplift will provide 228,000 tons of lithium, which is expected to cover this.
The area of 25-square miles is also located near the world’s largest industrial soda ash supplies, which will make the production of lithium from brines easier and cheaper. Another factor that could bring down the cost is the low amount of magnesium in the Uplift reservoirs, which should be removed from brines prior to recycling the element. And last but not least, because the reservoirs are deep, the pressure and temperature needed to be reached during lithium operations, are already high enough.