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Don’t get too excited about the new lithium deposit found in the US
Everybody, Peter Zion here coming to you from Colorado, a lot of you have written in asking what I think about this new suppose it lithium deposit that has been found near the Oregon Nevada border.
That’s in place called the McDermott Caldera, which if you’re familiar with plate tectonics is where the Yellowstone supervolcano used to be, basically, the Yellowstone supervolcano was a hotspot. And this is where it was ages ago. Anyway, volcanoes bring stuff up from the mantle, and even the core. And they tend to be a little interesting from human point of view. And so the minerals in the caldera are undoubtedly interesting. And supposedly, they found a whole lot of lithium, that if the estimates proved true, it will be the world’s single largest deposit bigger than what is in Chile, or Bolivia, or Argentina, or Australia, for that matter. So you know, potentially groundbreaking, and I think this is great, obviously, but four things to keep in mind.
Number one, prospective, estimated potential, real exploration has not yet been done. And until it does, you know, don’t count those chickens. Number two, let’s assume that it’s as good as we think it is, well, you still have to build the mine. And from the day that all the permits are approved to the day that you get first large scale production is still going to be in excess of four years. Out in the permitting process, you’re going to add another two to three. And a lot of this is on Native American lands. So there’s a whole nother level of level of politics, and negotiation that goes into it. So I would be surprised, even in the best case scenario, if we saw meaningful output out of this thing in less than eight years, 10s, probably more likely. So the chicken counting is going to have to wait.
Third, let’s say we managed to get all this order to the ground, and it looks really promising. Well, then you have lithium, or it still needs to be processed into some sort of intermediate form like concentrate. And only then can it be refined into metal. And only then can it be turned into things like batteries. So there’s an entire manufacturing supply chain that has to be built up. Now, the United States is starting on this.
We’re working with the Australians on some of this. But this is again, something that takes a minimum of two to four years to get going at scale. I would argue that we should work on the processing. Regardless, that way, even if this new source of order doesn’t work out, we can still tap water from places like Chile or Argentina, and have more and more of a supply chain within the Western Hemisphere.
Okay, what else? Oh, yeah, one more thing. Lithium sucks. I mean, we use it as our dominant battery chemistry because we don’t have anything better. But it’s not particularly energy dense. It can only work for so many recharge cycles, and it tends to swell and heat up when you use it. So it can start fires, which is one of the many many many, many reasons why on flights, they tell you that if you have a lithium battery, don’t put it in your checked bag, because no one’s down there to check on it to carry it with you.
Hopefully, over the next decade, we will figure out a an easier battery chemistry, maybe even one that’s a little bit more I don’t know environmentally friendly because the mining and refining that’s necessary to do lithium at scale is pretty messy. We need several 100 billion dollars into new materials science research for green tech. And in none of the subfields isn’t more important than figuring out something that works for batteries better than lithium.
But until that happens lithium is the best that we have. So this McDermott called Dara the factor pass mine area looks promising.
Russia and China provoke Finland short of war
Russia recently began sending hordes of migrants and refugees toward the Finnish border in an attempt to overwhelm Finland’s border posts and force the Finns to close them. China, in a separate incident, severed a crucial undersea cable off the Finnish coast by dragging an anchor along the seabed for twenty miles. These provocations fall
Is geothermal energy a viable solution to electricity shortage?
Stored deep within the earth’s core, geothermal energy is a naturally occurring renewable resource receiving backing from big tech companies. The aim is to harness this energy to fill gaps in wind and solar power generation, providing a source of clean power without burning fossil fuels such as coal, gas, or oil. Straight Arrow News
Why Siberian rail network attacks are a potential setback for Russia
Ukraine’s security service blew up railway connections linking Russia to China in a strike carried out deep in Siberia. This targeted action severed the only significant railway link between Russia and China, potentially impeding the flow of military supplies from China to Russia. Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan sheds light on the potential fallout
Methane is the low-hanging fruit at COP28 climate summit
During the COP 28 United Nations Climate Change Conference in the United Arab Emirates, conference president Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber announced a commitment aimed at curbing methane gas emissions. Methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, has been a focal point for climate advocacy groups urging nations to decrease emissions amid rising global temperatures. Straight Arrow News
Can far-right Wilders consolidate his power in the Netherlands?
In a surprising turn of events on Nov. 22, the anti-Islam populist Geert Wilders emerged victorious in the Netherlands’ election. The win for the far-right politician opens the door to a potential new coalition that many fear could disrupt the EU. But a Wilders-led government is not a sure thing, and he will likely have
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