U.S. lithium production

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idleprocess

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Mines really don't have to do much at all, to reclaim the land back to original.
The folks moved to SW Arkansas some 13 years ago. There was an open-pit coal mine on I-30 between Mt Vernon TX and Mt Pleasant TX that was one of the few visual highlights of the trip. The generating station it supported was on the ropes at the time and mining operations halted in 2011 with the plant idling that same year, restarting in 2014 with Wyoming coal then winding down in 2018. The large-scale equipment - walking draglines, bucket wheel excavator, crosspit spreader - spent years reclaiming the land before completing the work a few years ago. The scale of these machines impressed from the highway; some utility promo for an unfortunately-timed Discovery documentary gives a hint of their scale.

Google Earth can produce a timelapse of the area 1984 - 2022 showing the continuous mining-reclaiming process. While the process of removing and replacing literal megatons of earth inevitably alters the landscape (the various pockmark lakes being one of the bigger tells) and likely takes many years of waiting out subsidence and the re-establishment of drainage patterns it will heal in a reasonable amount of time. There was another coal mine adjacent to nearby Sulphur Springs whose reclamation process is more complete.
 

orbital

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The folks moved to SW Arkansas some 13 years ago. There was an open-pit coal mine on I-30 between Mt Vernon TX and Mt Pleasant TX that was one of the few visual highlights of the trip. The generating station it supported was on the ropes at the time and mining operations halted in 2011 with the plant idling that same year, restarting in 2014 with Wyoming coal then winding down in 2018. The large-scale equipment - walking draglines, bucket wheel excavator, crosspit spreader - spent years reclaiming the land before completing the work a few years ago. The scale of these machines impressed from the highway; some utility promo for an unfortunately-timed Discovery documentary gives a hint of their scale.

Google Earth can produce a timelapse of the area 1984 - 2022 showing the continuous mining-reclaiming process. While the process of removing and replacing literal megatons of earth inevitably alters the landscape (the various pockmark lakes being one of the bigger tells) and likely takes many years of waiting out subsidence and the re-establishment of drainage patterns it will heal in a reasonable amount of time. There was another coal mine adjacent to nearby Sulphur Springs whose reclamation process is more complete.
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That's good to hear, in that new mines have it clearly in contract to reclaim.
Old mines are not on the hook to do any real reclamation,, at least the one near me.
 

idleprocess

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That's good to hear, in that new mines have it clearly in contract to reclaim.
Old mines are not on the hook to do any real reclamation,, at least the one near me.
In addition to newer environmental regulations / mining laws I suspect that's very much in the T's & C's of the land use and permitting - i.e. in the case of owning merely the mineral rights the obligation to restore the land (in addition to compensating the property owner for the loss of use of the surface) may be a hard mandate. Texas might be an interesting case in that there are negligible quantities of public land in the state (<5% per a quick search).
 

aznsx

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Thank you.
...and thank you. The thread became unrecognizable to me, and I think I actually started the bloody thing! I've just ignored it since then until now - and I see why. Sheesh. There are some topics some people seem to love to derail / divert to and endlessly hash over, and pontificate about, even though there are many threads with the same 'hashing' already. The original topic was very simple and contained by comparison. I think I'll just head back to the flashlight section - that's crazy enough for me:)

Thanx for at least trying to get it back on track, @idleprocess.
 

aznsx

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The original topic was of interest to me, I lived in the specific region in question decades ago, and participated in some tangents ... so least I could do.
Some tangents are more interesting than others, and since I lived a couple of years in Sherman up the road from you, worked @TI there (and occasionally at the Richardson site), and had in-laws in Garland and spent many days off hanging about the Big D area - I do happen to find some of your 'tangential' stuff more interesting than some others, shall we say - so there's that!
 

fuyume

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My take on this is it goes nowhere. Not because of tree huggers, but rather because sodium ion batteries are just reaching production. That's a good thing. Every country has plenty of salt. Besides, lithium extraction is a very destructive process. Sodium ion batteries will likely replace lithium eventually for all but the most energy dense applications.

Yes, this. And it needs to be said that the research into Prussian Blue sodium ion batteries is resulting in batteries that, although they don't have quite the energy density, are cheaper to manufacture and withstand 10000 discharge/recharge cycles, compared with perhaps 300 for lithium ion.
 

fuyume

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Had we started pushing EVs after the first energy crisis in the 1970s, the switch could have been much more gradual. Perhaps 20 or 25 years later, say around 2000, most vehicles on the road would have been electric.

The problem with cars is nothing to do with how we power them, it's about the fact that we spent an entire century building a world around cars, rather than people.

One-for-one replacement of ICE vehicles with EVs is not going to change the fundamental calculus of human consumption, save to shift the emissions from the tailpipe to "somewhere else".

Society does not need EVs with 300 mile plus ranges. What we need is to reverse sprawl so that most people can live comfortable lives without motor vehicle transport. People first: we should prioritize disability access first, then pedestrian comfort, then bicycle convenience, then public transit efficiency. Private motor vehicles should be given no priority whatsoever.

But doing this successfully requires fundamentally changing how we allocate and use land.
 

idleprocess

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Guess we're going back OT...
What we need is to reverse sprawl so that most people can live comfortable lives without motor vehicle transport.
[...]
But doing this successfully requires fundamentally changing how we allocate and use land.
I spoke to this here, in particular:
The outcomes of a ~century of government policies and the resulting financial incentives can be undone of course, but it would be a slow roll - decades - even if consensus existed that we need to do something about automotive dependency. But said consensus does not exist so it's going to be even slower. Assuming of course that economic trends don't force the likes of Long Beach upon suburbia with organic densification through subdivision of properties and small-scale consolidation reducing the pressure to own automobiles.
Not sure what the thoughts on urbanism are where you live but where I live the residents of my particular suburb are quite satisfied with the status quo: single-use zoning, wide residential lots, limited branch hierarchy street layouts, excessive parking minimums. Their opinions range from suspicion to hostility when it comes to opening up restrictions on subdividing residential lots (ala duplexes), hate hate hate anything that's explicitly multifamily (ala new apartment complexes), and are super angry about the perceived cost of the county's feeble transit options (seemingly oblivious to the escalating costs of road maintenance).

What urbanism happens in my burg is boutique - the old town area gets some infill apartments, condos, townhouses but the remaining >95% of the population remains in sprawling single-family neighborhoods or scattered apartment complexes where you get in the car to go anywhere. Old town development will expand, but it will be incremental and slow and too expensive to be accessible to many.

Despite many valid criticisms the status quo of suburban sprawl isn't going anywhere. The residents of suburbia will vote - largely indirectly ala the Infrastructure Bill - to subsidize themselves for the foreseeable future.

Thus, there will need to be personal automobiles for another ~generation. The realities of market acceptance dictate they'll need to reasonably emulate the capabilities of presently available options.

...

That being said, the subject of the thread is consideration of domestic lithium extraction.
 

aznsx

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I've lived in most variations of types of areas (from very urban, to so-called 'planned communities' / towns, to very small towns, to very rural), and so-called 'urbanism' is dead to me - permanently. It demonstrably does not work well. The U.S is also not Japan (for example). We have lots of highly inhabitable land. Turn on any news channel on TV in 2023. I can't even watch such horrors any more (and do not).

Also, what sound like great solutions to relatively young people, often become untenable for many of those of middle age and beyond. One must think beyond just themselves. I also don't detect much consideration of climate / weather factors here either. When I was young I rode a motorcycle in the Winter wearing a snowmobile suit. That would be quite impossible for me now, as is walking or riding a bike in rain, snow, temps of 20F or 120F.

I personally can't walk significant distances, nor ride a bike or scooter safely, nor a motorized skateboard, nor......(insert pie in the sky here)

I love my beef, but do not wish to live like cattle in stockyards. I'm not a herd animal (nor will I ever be).

I still think, given where current and near term realities (not fantasies or wishful thinking) stand (albeit with change being the only constant), I still hope the U.S. can grow more of its own lithium (and many other required resources) vs buying more from CCP, etc., etc. Lithium is a critical resource involving far more than transportation, which seems to be what most here are fixating on. That involves much more fundamentally significant issues than most of what's being discussed (most of which is multi-tangential). As I said, today, and in the near term, 'it's gonna come from somewhere' (lithium), and where matters in many far-reaching ways, some of which will have far greater impact on this country than many of these other 'issues' (real or imagined). One need not solve all problems to do one thing right, and furthering U.S. dependence on an ever-deteriorating world is not an acceptable answer to me. I am personally certain that will not change for the better, but from all indications I see, will only get worse. Thus, the title of this thread.

Independence Day was earlier this month. Independence goes far beyond the independence from the British government which we celebrate. Ultimately, it's increasingly about survival. The 'new world order' is rarely about 'order' at all, but is increasingly, rather, about chaos. It might be good to quit the 'book burning' of history, and start learning from it.
 
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aznsx

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You are right, and it's a good reminder that we can all be distracted and stray from the straight and narrow sometimes. Thanx for reminding me. (yes, I say that seriously.) We all need reminding once in a while; at least mere mortals like me!

I think it may be 'something in the water' here in this 'Cafe'. I normally don't drink the water here, but instead just order an RC or a Pepsi, but I think I might have swallowed just a tiny sip while trying to keep my head above the water when I read the updates to this thread. I need to watch that and avoid being sucked into the torrent.
 

vadimax

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What you are seeing is not the mining... you are seeing lack of 1) environmental regs 2) corruption 3) people that are desperate for work 4) etc. Yes mining is dangerous (history of it in the US can tell you that). But it doesn't have to be _deadly_.
"Doesn't have", but it is. Marxism "doesn't have" to be deadly as well as they say. Now name me at least ONE country that has implemented marxism without tortures, murders and concentration (read death) camps.

The only way to keep "green" ideology alive is to use slave workforce that is cheap like dirt on one side and government subsidization on the other side of the technology path. Otherwise they immediately lose the competition. The aphabet of economy.
 
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vadimax

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The problem with cars is nothing to do with how we power them, it's about the fact that we spent an entire century building a world around cars, rather than people.

One-for-one replacement of ICE vehicles with EVs is not going to change the fundamental calculus of human consumption, save to shift the emissions from the tailpipe to "somewhere else".

Society does not need EVs with 300 mile plus ranges. What we need is to reverse sprawl so that most people can live comfortable lives without motor vehicle transport. People first: we should prioritize disability access first, then pedestrian comfort, then bicycle convenience, then public transit efficiency. Private motor vehicles should be given no priority whatsoever.

But doing this successfully requires fundamentally changing how we allocate and use land.
I'd say it requires to entirely re-think the very essence of the city as it is. UAE tries to do that with their "wall" city. But you cannot destroy the existing cities at the same time.

 

orbital

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vadimax, while back you said you are an police officer,,
I'd like to buy you a cup of coffee & really hear what you have to say.

... lithium mining, price fixing, commodity markets, ammo availability, Russian oligarchs etc..
 
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