A struggling California region is suddenly poised to become very, very rich (SFGate)

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    A struggling California region is suddenly poised to become very, very rich – By Ariana Bindman (SFGate) / Dec 4, 2023

    Imperial County, a sprawling desert region three hours southeast of Los Angeles that straddles the U.S.-Mexico border, may not be what you would typically associate with Southern California.

    Home to ramshackle landmarks like Salvation Mountain, the Salton Sea and Bombay Beach, it’s the least populated county in the region with just 180,000 residents. But U.S. politicians are suddenly interested in this rural area for other reasons — namely, the wealth of lithium deep beneath its surface. The rare mineral used in batteries, now in particularly high demand with the rise of electric vehicles, could be enough to produce 375 million batteries for that use, according to a new report.

    Imperial County — which now touts itself as Lithium Valley — is sitting on an estimated 3,400 kilotons of lithium, according to the 2023 study authored by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The coveted mineral is mostly found in Australia, China and Chile, and U.S. officials predict that demand for this “critical” resource will skyrocket by 4,000% over the next several decades.

    CONTINUE > https://www.sfgate.com/california/article/imperial-county-california-salton-sea-lithium-18527598.php

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