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Lithium Mining


Bedrock Bob

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A couple of years ago, an area I’d been prospecting gold for and found none, around an old test tunnel that I think was dig for manganese was later claimed for lithium.  Still no mining activity there, but perhaps it’s a legit claim.

Things other than gold are out there.  Nearly all out there are just impossible to develop by a small miner, so most of us do not know what to look for.

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3 hours ago, chrisski said:

A couple of years ago, an area I’d been prospecting gold for and found none, around an old test tunnel that I think was dig for manganese was later claimed for lithium.  Still no mining activity there, but perhaps it’s a legit claim.

Things other than gold are out there.  Nearly all out there are just impossible to develop by a small miner, so most of us do not know what to look for.

You should get yourself a good battery operated SW fluorescent mineral lamp and prospect for specimens. Arizona is a great state to look for them. There's roughly 10,000 collectors in the USA so that's not a small market and some of those specimens can go for $200 to $300 and up. Everyone searches for gold but I would bet you've walked over fluorescent "gold" without even knowing it.

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11 hours ago, Bedrock Bob said:

A good article on Lithium. If we had processing capabilities here in the U.S. It would be the new gold rush.

https://clearpath.org/energy-101/supply-chain-for-lithium-and-critical-minerals-is-critical/

 

Aloha Snackbar, Bob

We have processing capabilities,  just not on the scale of the main player. 

I didn't realize that they are extracting Li directly from the hydrothermal  brine at the Salton Sea. No evap ponds required, just some sort of proprietary  ion exchange tech.

 

I wonder if Tesla's new million  mile battery can be quick charged like Toyota's new, solid-state Li battery can be- reputedly  in 10 minutes.

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1 hour ago, Stillweaver hillbelli said:

I wonder if Tesla's new million  mile battery can be quick charged like Toyota's new, solid-state Li battery can be- reputedly  in 10 minutes.

Toyota's game-changing solid-state battery en route for 2021 debut - Nikkei Asia 

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  • 5 months later...
21 hours ago, Stillweaver hillbelli said:

GM jumped in as an investor  in that Salton Sea lithium hydrothermal project...

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/gm-shakes-lithium-industry-california-120622813.html

That's great news. I thought the Salton Sea area was a wasteland.

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9 minutes ago, Dakota Slim said:

That's great news. I thought the Salton Sea area was a wasteland.

And if Aluminum batteries take off to replace Li? Al is a cheaper alternative, and the rumor  is they charge very fast, store more, safer. 

Or will BIGLi kill the Al batt.?

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It's a ways to the east, but there is kyanite, which is aluminous, at the Bluebird Mine near the Cargo Muchacho Mountains.
There are also some very rich but worked out gold mines there as well. The tailings at the American Girl Mine look like they could contain some aluminous material. 
Much of the area between the Cargo Muchachos and the Salton Sea has been withdrawn from mineral entry and motorized travel has been severely curtailed. 

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Lithium and aluminum are very plentiful metals. 

For both of them the biggest obstacle is extraction and purification. Not locating a "deposit".

There are hundreds of locations where lithium exists in mineable quantities. And hundreds more where existing operations could isolate lithium from waste material.

We simply don't have the infrastructure in place yet to make that a profitable venture. Even if the demand is high it is currently less expensive to ship ore to China to be processed. The logistics of this renders all but a few operations impossible.

Extracting from saline solution is probably the best bet at this point. Lithium concentrates from solution much easier than trying to extract it from rock. Spots like the Salton Sea, the New Mexico potash deposits and salt domes, as well as the salt domes in Louisiana are low hanging fruit to start lithium extraction operations. 

We really need to develop our refining infrastructure for many of the rare earth and radioactive materials. That simply isn't going to happen any time soon. There are many valuable deposits for these metals and the major ones are in areas that will be very difficult to successfully mine for a whole lot of reasons. 

Other countries like Mexico are far more likely to develop the infrastructure to refine and produce these metals. There is the money and initiative in a much less restrictive environment. I expect several deposits in the US to become economically viable if some company or country invests in this type of infrastructure. And I think they will.

There are many viable deposits for these metals. The metal value and the economic benefit is in my opinion not worth what we would lose if we dug it up. 

Like Stillbeaver pointed out, my 36 tons of ore worth a half million is not worth any more than the same amount of persimmons (or whatever). And we don't have to destroy mountains and poison aquifers to grow persimmons (or whatever). So there is a very good argument behind relying on other countries for certain commodities and infrastructure rather than trying to compete in a game that puts us at a distinct disadvantage.

The big mining companies have obviously figured that out already. They control many huge undeveloped domestic deposits and have for decades. They aren't investing anything into developing them and probably won't in the foreseeable future. There is a lot more to it than having the technology and creating a demand. Operations must be profitable. And that is something our richest deposits are not. At least until the infrastructure is developed to make them profitable. And at this time not a lot of businessmen are willing to gamble on that.

 

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