CBS report on Salton Sea and Lithium

File under, you were told weeks ago:

California’s next big valley, “Lithium Valley,” powering electric car future
Long a hub of geothermal power production, a forgotten backwater of Southern California known as the Salton Sea, is a bountiful reservoir of lithium, is being dubbed “Lithium Valley.” The silvery-white metal is now in huge demand as it is used in electric vehicle batteries. Ben Tracy reports

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/californias-next-big-valley-li…

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Given that the Salton Sea is in California, I’m thinking it may take decades to get regulatory approval to mine the lithium. That may be something to keep in mind with regard to investing.

–fleg

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Moreover, according to the linked chart, the US lags far, far behind Chile and Australia in Li reserves (and production?) If there are useful deposits at the Salton Sea, let alone the CA regs problems, cost to get CA’s output to compete with AU and/or Chile would likely nix any CA biz plan.

Didn’t see in the article where they specifically discussed the Salton Sea’s Li potential.

Where is lithium available from?
https://www.volkswagenag.com/en/news/stories/2020/03/lithium….

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I’m thinking it may take decades to get regulatory approval to mine the lithium.

I’m trying to imagine the Salton being worse than it is now. Salinity so high most of the fish have died. Huge algae blooms. The tourist resorts that used to dot it’s shore have gone out of business because the “sea” is so nasty now. The “sea” is drying up, because not enough water flows into it from the surrounding farms anymore. The “sea” isn’t even naturally occurring. It was created when an existing, dry, low spot, was flooded by a breach in an irrigation canal.

Toxic algae outbreak prompts advisory at Salton Sea, dog dies swimming in water

"Cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms can affect the skin, liver and nervous system of people and of dogs and livestock,‘’ the state water board said.

As a precaution, visitors were urged not to swim in the water, or let their pets enter the water, or eat algal mats scattered about the shore line.

Visitors were also urged not use any Salton Sea water for drinking or cooking. Boiling and filtering will not make the water safe, officials said.

https://kesq.com/salton-sea/2021/04/23/toxic-algae-outbreak-…

Steve

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Moreover, according to the linked chart, the US lags far, far behind Chile and Australia in Li reserves (and production?) If there are useful deposits at the Salton Sea, let alone the CA regs problems, cost to get CA’s output to compete with AU and/or Chile would likely nix any CA biz plan.

Didn’t see in the article where they specifically discussed the Salton Sea’s Li potential.

This project is challenging, but for not for the reasons you guys are mentioning. The process looks like this: Drill down to a deposit of superheated lithium-rich, briny water. Capture the energy from the superheated brine and use it make electricity, extract the lithium, and reinject the brine.

There are a number of geothermal electric plants already in operation in the area, the only step missing is extracting the lithium from the brine. The question mark is if the lithium can be extracted on a cost-effective basis at scale. Companies have tried and failed to do that in the past. However, there is an enormous amount of lithium in the area so the upside is huge and new technology shows promise. Backers of the venture include Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, General Motors, and Berkshire Hathaway Energy, so there appears to be some genuine reasons for optimism.

Re: Regulatory framework. The president wants this, the governor wants this, and the locals want this. With no opposition I don’t see much of an issue here.

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Re: Regulatory framework. The president wants this, the governor wants this, and the locals want this. With no opposition I don’t see much of an issue here.

But there will be some nutcases living a hundred miles away in a big city who will object to any disruption of the “natural environment” of the Salton Sea area. I predict they’ll, at a bare minimum, cause this project to take much longer and cost much more than necessary.

(Note: The Salton Sea was originally created in 1905 by a breach in an irrigation canal, and is sustained by runoff from irrigation. It isn’t part of a natural environment.)

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I visited one of the early geothermal plants on the edge of Salton Sea waaaaay back in the late 70’s. The lithium in those days was not valued, it was a curse that made the geothermal generation of power very difficult.

The idea that California is a nightmare of environmentalists is more than a bit dated.

David fb

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The idea that California is a nightmare of environmentalists is more than a bit dated.

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These people have nothing else but dated ideas about solar, wind, battery storage, energy efficiency, regulations, and EVs. If the state or country were left to these luddites we would never make any progress. California is the hot bed of innovation.

Jaak

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The idea that California is a nightmare of environmentalists is more than a bit dated.
David fb

If only… biz magazines are still rife with reports of companies departing, and companies looking to expand don’t even have CA on their short list of candidates for consideration…

Our tax picture is also a lovely issue…

CA’s latest loss: Musk and his Tesla enterprise departing Fremont. Off to TX.

We may turn around yet, but it won’t be a week from Tuesday.

(As a reference point: I’m sure you’ve already read about the differential pricing at U-Haul, for their rental rates delta on trucks EXITING vs ENTERING CA. About a 3:1 disparity. It’s an indicator, and a valid one.)

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