A WSF rant concludes this post. You have been warned!
What may become a new job source for Wyoming, and a blow to China’s economy, was recently announced.
The project sounds like results may be years out, but it is a start. For sure, this project wouldn’t happen under a Democrat Administration. Wyoming is the largest coal producer in the USA.
80% that we use is imported, mainly from South America.
This extracted from Lithium today.
Rock Springs deposits (Wyoming)
The latest Lithium development in US comes from researchers at the University of Wyoming. They’ve found lithium in Rock Springs Uplift, a geological feature in southwest Wyoming. Data so far suggests that brines from a 25-square-mile area could contain 228,000 tons of lithium. That’s enough to meet annual U.S. demand.
Production of lithium from brines requires soda ash (sodium carbonate), and importation of soda ash to lithium production facilities often represents a large expense. However, the Rock Springs Uplift CO2 storage site is located within 20 to 30 miles of the world’s largest industrial soda ash supplies, so the costs of soda ash delivery (by rail, truck or pipeline) would be minimal.
Magnesium must be also removed from brines before they can be used for lithium recovery, which makes the entire lithium recovery process more expensive. Fortunately, the brines from the Rock Springs Uplift reservoirs contain much less magnesium than brines at existing, currently profitable lithium mining operations.
As a last step brines must be heated and pressurized before lithium can be extracted from them. However, because the Rock Springs Uplift brines lie so far underground, they are already at a higher pressure and temperature than brines at existing lithium operations. This would allow operators to essentially eliminate this step in the process, resulting in significant cost savings.
When I let my conspiracy theories run amok, I speculate much of the earth hugger activity is funded by foreign interests focused on two separate goals. Always in first place, one world assholes. Second, eliminate or curtail domestic USA production to enhance imports from the producers.
Say your country has a mineral that the USA needs but you are barely competitive price wise. Spend a quarter million or so funding domestic saboteurs (excuse me, concerned citizens), kill or cripple your competition, and reap a bonanza.
The irony of social justice warriors driving hybrid cars is lost on them. Most of the 60 lbs. of cobalt in their car’s batteries was mined by child slaves in Congo mines owned and operated by the Chinese.
In spite of all the regulatory roadblocks, our country’s needs for this critical element may be, partially, coming home. Information two years old – most current I can find.
Perhaps the biggest problem with mining is this; it is ugly. Undisturbed land is suddenly torn asunder. Then, having scooped up the profits, the operators cut and run. That needs to stop.
Land reclamation is feasible. I would direct people’s attention to coal strip mining in the Yampa River drainage in Northwest Colorado where the land is reclaimed. It may not be Ansel Adams pristine, but the land isn’t ugly, and provides forage for the local fauna.
Years ago, Steamboat Springs, CO had a sawmill that burned their scrap (common practice at the time). The smoke sometimes drifted into town. One day, my father was stopped by a resident who said,
“Bob, isn’t this smoke terrible!”
My father paused, sniffed the air, and said,
“I smell a payroll”.
This is where I come in hard. Jobs! Much of my extended family is involved in mining, oil, or associated businesses. The same can be said for many of my friends. Keep, and bring back, these jobs. Keep the rural areas economically viable.
A welfare state needs cities to corral and control the population, IMO. I will defer to those readers from Appalachia because I don’t know how things work there, but I suspect, not too well.
Come November, we will find out if progress will continue, or our way of life will be gone.
As always, YMMV