Borate Hills, Nevada, US.
In 2010, in USA alone demand for industry-grade lithium was over 102,000 tons, by 2020 that number is expected to reach 320,000 tons mostly due to increase in production of electric vehicles. Yet, USA actually produced only about 5 percent of that lithium. Today Chile and Australia are dominating lithium production.
But with the integration of a new technology that can soon be very well changed in a way that would allow US geothermal power plants to compete with the lowest cost Chilean producers, which currently keep the price at $1,500 per ton. The new developing technology can allow extraction of lithium from brine which gets injected into the ground by geothermal power plants after steam is produced.
Unlike traditional methods of materials extractions that require massive amounts of water, Simbol's technology allows this minimal-energy process to be virtually waste-free. 18 months of lithium extraction in evaporation ponds can be achieved in 90 minutes. A very impressive break-through in the process.
The company that called Simbol Materials has developed this new technology and is currently operating a pilot plant that can filter 20 gallons per minute. The company's first commercial plant is soon expected to begin construction, increasing its production capacity at 16,000 tons/year of world's highest-purity lithium carbonate for use in electric vehicle and mobile device batteries.
Another US based company called American Lithium Minerals is focused on the development of lithium and boron resources in Borate Hills, Nevada. The company´s key objective is to develop a world-class lithium project that will capitalize on ever increasing demand for lithium-ion batteries, particularly for hybrid and electric vehicles.
A $4.5 million exploration and development program is aimed at completing the project at one of the world's premier known lithium deposits and the second-largest boron deposit in the US. The lithium mine located 20 miles from Borate Hills is the only commercial lithium mine in North America and it is being greatly supported by the state of Nevada. It is planned to develop the Borate Hills mine as well as other lithium brine exploration projects through cooperation with international partners.
For USA lithium is a high-priority and strategic mineral for the, the country's green energy and long-term energy policies depend on developing a strong, domestic lithium-ion battery manufacturing sector.