GM Funds a Huge Multi-Million dollar Geothermal Lithium Mining Initiative for EV Batteries

July 7, 2022
GM Funds A Low-Cost Geothermal Lithium Mining Initiative

GM is moving to secure U.S.-sourced lithium.

The metal that is critical for electric car batteries, with strategic investment and a partnership with a company called Controlled Thermal Resources. GM will hold the first dibs on the lithium produced from the Australian firm Hells Kitchen lithium mining project.   

With the General Motors (GM) investment, Controlled Thermal Resource's closed-loop, the straight-up mining process will extract lithium from geothermal brine, reads the statement from GM. In the announcement in the early hours, General Motors said the lithium would be produced using a closed-loop, direct-extraction process, which results in a smaller physical footprint, zero production waste, and lower CO2 emissions than conventional processes such as mining in pits or vats.   

General Motors is investing in the US lithium project, which may become the largest lithium mine in the country by 2024, making the automaker among the first to develop a domestic source for a battery metal that is critical for the electrification of cars and trucks.

This lithium-extraction project in California is taking place at the Geothermal Energy Facility next to the Salton Sea. What makes the Australian-based company's project unique is that it will be using renewable geothermal power -- produced by the Salton Sea geothermal field, an enormous region of the Imperial Valley already home to 11 geothermal energy plants -- to process the lithium.   

Sitting on top of one of the most significant known geothermal resources in the world, CTR has the potential to generate as much as 1,100MW of renewable electric power and 300,000 tons of nearly zero-carbon lithium annually. GMs multimillion-dollar investment in CTR means that it will get first dibs on any lithium produced from the project, which CTR says will hit 20,000 tons of lithium hydroxide annually at the first stage of manufacturing -- all while producing up to 49.9MW of net power.

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