The United States now claims to have the largest single deposit of lithium salts anywhere in the world. But whether federal regulators will permit its exploitation remains an open question. The answer to that question might show just how strong are the ties between the Bidens and China.
How big is this lithium deposit?
The lithium deposit apparently lies in the crater of the McDermitt Caldera, an ancient “supervolcano” near the Nevada-Oregon border. Observers estimate its total value at about $1.5 trillion. The deposit, specifically found in Thacker Pass, is considerably larger than the previous largest-deposit candidate, found in Bolivia. According to Chemistry World, the monthly of the Royal Society of Chemistry, 40 million tons of lithium could lie there.
The lithium deposit is not real news, as it has already been the subject of Luddite protests.
Already someone is speculating that the EPA will seek to block any exploitation of this deposit.
But apparently several parties, including environmentalist and Native American tribal councils, have already tried – and failed – in court. The Associated Press, through OPB, has the details. The Bureau of Land Management approved a proposal by Lithium America to mine the Thacker Pass in 2021. Judge Miranda Du of the U.S. District Court for Nevada heard the first lawsuit against the mine, and rejected it. (It may or may not be significant that Barack Obama appointed Judge Du to that court.) The plaintiffs appealed, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court. No word has come forth saying whether the plaintiffs petitioned the Supreme Court for review, or plan to do so.
The EPA has said nothing about the project or the legal challenge. But Transportation Secretary Pet Buttigieg is on record as favoring the “sourcing” of lithium from countries other than China.
The China dynamic
In fact all observers say this lithium deposit could seriously threaten, or destroy, China’s plan to “corner” lithium. China has in fact tried to “corner” as many mineral resources as possible, for the same reason that they promote their “Belt and Road Initiative.” Today China controls 7.9 percent of worldwide lithium reserves, but 80 percent of refining of all minerals worldwide.
China has also figured prominently in recent investigations of the business dealings of President Biden’s son Hunter. Biden’s involvement in his son’s dealings is at the likely heart of new talk of his impeachment, for bribery.
What’s new about this deposit are the publications of scientific papers saying how much it’s worth. It represents a forty-fold increase in the estimate of American lithium reserves. This could greatly cut the cost of building an electric-car fleet that would seriously compete with Internal Combustion Engined (ICE) vehicles on the world’s roads. Anouk Borst, a geologist from Belgium, said that if the latest estimates prove out, the new supply
could change the dynamics of lithium globally, in terms of price, security of supply and geopolitics.
This gives the more reason to watch regulatory, legal, and political developments closely. The considerations here pit members of the Grand Leftist Coalition against one another. It splits the environmental movement down the middle – or else will show whether the true goal of environmentalism is to leave everything in the ground, not petroleum only. The threat to China’s market-cornering plans could also provoke the Bidens into a rash act that would reveal their motives.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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