World’s Largest Lithium Deposit Possibly Found in U.S. as EV Demand Grows

As electrification efforts ramp up across the auto industry, a lot of people are wondering if there is enough raw material on Earth to make the batteries that will power tomorrow’s electric vehicles.

Well, get this: volcanologists have discovered what could be the world’s largest deposit of lithium on the McDermitt caldera, along the border between Nevada and Oregon.

This is apparently the result of a supervolcano explosion that occurred some 16 million years ago. Preliminary estimates indicate the site may contain as much as 120 million tons of lithium, enough to build EV batteries for several decades.

The Bolivian salt flats are currently regarded as the largest deposit on earth, but the amount of lithium down there is roughly 12 times smaller. The McDermitt caldera is also said to have a concentrated supply, which would facilitate mining operations.

Work could begin in 2026, according to geologists at Americas Corporation. However, there will be a ton of opposition due to the potential environmental impacts. What’s more, First Nations on the Nevada side of the caldera deem the land as sacred.

Don’t Forget Manitoba

At about the same time last year, Manitoba-based Snow Lake Lithium said it could start commercial production in 2025 with the capacity to supply lithium for up to 500,000 locally made EVs annually.

Over 10 years, Snow Lake Lithium’s production could therefore power as many as 5 million EVs. And that was after exploring just one percent of its 22,000 hectare site.

In its initial assessment of the site, the company said it could take up to two years for environmental work such as permitting to be complete before commercial lithium mining can actually begin. It’s also looking for a partner among major automakers or battery manufacturers to help process raw material into lithium hydroxide suitable for EV batteries.

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