The way the world gets much of its lithium is 'just nuts' - Wealth Minerals
(Kitco News) - On Tuesday McCutcheson spoke to Kitco.
Wealth Mineral (TSX.V:WML) has a lithium project, a concession of about 46,200 hectares located in the northern part of the Atacama Salar. The company says that the region is the world's highest-grade and largest producing lithium brine deposit. Two production facilities operated by Sociedad Quimica y Minera and Rockwood Lithium account for about one-third of global lithium output, writes Wealth Minerals describing where it works.
Lithium production in salars traditionally relied upon solar evaporation. McCutcheson said the process made sense when the demand was relatively niche, but with explosive growth for lithium-ion batteries, the scale of what is required is not sustainable.
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"Conceptually, the idea of actively trying to get rid of water in the driest place in the planet is just nuts," said McCutcheson. "In the past, when it was a very small thing...no one really paid much attention to it. As demand for lithium has grown...the true nature of what's actually happening has come out, and then of course, people realize how inefficient this is."
Wealth Minerals is assessing options for direct lithium extraction, which runs the brine through filters to pull out the minerals. McCutcheson said there is a significant investment in the space and anticipates a technology will come to the fore.