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Science & Technology

World's largest lithium deposit found in extinct supervolcano

By T.K. Randall
September 11, 2023 · Comment icon 6 comments



Lithium has many uses in today's world. Image Credit: CC BY 3.0 Dnn87
The discovery - the largest of its kind ever made - could provide the world with enough lithium to build batteries for decades.
Lithium-based batteries are everywhere these days, from mobile phones to electric cars - the modern world has become dominated by devices which rely on these high-capacity batteries to function.

So great is the demand for lithium, in fact, that it has led to something of a 'lithium rush', with countries across the world using up hundreds of thousands of tons on an annual basis.

By 2040, it is believed, this could increase to as high as 1 million tons.
While sourcing this much lithium was thought to be an impending problem, scientists have just announced the discovery of a major new lithium deposit in a volcano in Oregon.

Known as the McDermitt caldera, this extinct volcano is now thought to contain up to 120 million tons of lithium - enough to meet demand for decades to come.

"Developing a sustainable and diverse supply chain to meet lower-carbon energy and national security goals requires mining the highest-grade domestic lithium resources with the lowest waste:ore strip ratios to minimise both the volume of material extracted from the Earth," the study authors wrote.

"Volcano sedimentary lithium resources have the potential to meet this requirement, as they tend to be shallow, high-tonnage deposits with low waste:ore strip ratios."

Source: Independent | Comments (6)




Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Doc Socks Junior 16 days ago
Interesting paper. Long Valley Caldera also hosted a lake system for several hundred thousand years coincident with resurgent dome activity of the early rhyolites. They're currently pulling geothermal power out of there. Could be an analogue system.... Probably worth checking what Li enrichment looks like in the 700 m of lake sediments there.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Freez1 15 days ago
Extinct? Not for long after this
Comment icon #3 Posted by Doc Socks Junior 15 days ago
Don't worry, it's been a while. A little lithium mining ain't gonna wake the puppy up.
Comment icon #4 Posted by NCC1701 14 days ago
"Could be"
Comment icon #5 Posted by Myles 13 days ago
Biden will give the rights to China.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Doc Socks Junior 13 days ago
I believe the rights are currently held by Lithium Americas.†


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