Scientists discover 'white gold' mine at the bottom of a giant lake

Scientists discover 'white gold' mine at the bottom of a giant lake


This could make the US completely self-sufficient in lithium

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(Web Desk) - A 'white gold' mine containing $540 billion in treasures has been discovered at the bottom of a giant lake in Southern California.

The Salton Sea, which is the largest lake in the US state was being studied by scientists as part of research funded by the Department of Energy.

The study aimed to find how much lithium, also known as 'white gold due to its white sand-like appearance, was at the bottom of the huge body of water.

Amazingly there was a lot of it - an unbelievable 18 million tons are believed to be sitting at the bottom of the lake.

This was after scientists had already confirmed that four million tons of lithium were in the lake, which were discovered through a drilling process.

Such is the vast quantity of lithium discovered in the lake, it would be possible to create batteries for a staggering 382 million electric vehicles and make the United States the leading nation in the chemical, overtaking China.

Michael McKibben, a geochemistry professor at the University of California, Riverside, who was one of the 22 authors on the study said: "This is one of the largest lithium brine deposits in the world.

This could make the United States completely self-sufficient in lithium and stop importing it through China."

Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, previously referred to the Salton Lake as Saudi Arabia of lithium. Now this new discovery means that the lake is the biggest source of lithium in the world.

The LA Times climate journalist Sammy Roth, told KJZZ radio: "They found that there's potentially enough lithium down there to supply batteries for 382 million electric vehicles, which is more, more vehicles than there are on the road in the United States today. So, if we could get all that lithium, that'd be huge."

According to SFGATE, getting to the lithium will not be easy and will require "geothermal production wells to extract the lithium-rich brine from thousands of feet below the earth’s surface, and once the lithium is dissolved from the brine, the liquid is pumped back underground."

As well as the 180,000 residents who live nearby who could be impacted by the drilling, the water supply, which comes from the Colorado River could also be affected as a huge amount of water will be needed to complete the process.