Paul Sutton


Lithium Mining

This graphic was posted to Mastodon, I am sharing here as it demonstrates a really good point.

Lithium Mining

While the pipeline is probably going to be oil or gas, the so called green alternatives seems to have a huge environmental impact.

Before lockdown in 2020 I was planning a STEM activity around this topic, or more specifically the effect of Lithium mining on local groundwater, and how this takes groundwater away from farmers etc.

There is a video about the Extraction process on youtube.

More info on Lithium here from compound chem


So compared to Oil / Gas, using lithium to power cars does not release gasses such as $CO2$, $NO2$ and $CO$ so the batteries are cleaner, but are they cleaner if you look at the whole lifecycle of the battery from getting the raw materials ?


Lithium Extraction – the price

This was posted to Friendica today. I am sharing as it seems a really important discussion point.

On the one hand, we are being encouraged to buy electric cars, we are becoming more reliant on electronic devices. All of which use a power source which uses the Element Lithium, this has to come from somewhere, but what is the price.

Reference and source of the article and link below.
Khurram Wadee 1 hour ago diaspora Mark Lansbury 2020-01-24 08:27:16

Lithium Extraction for E-mobility Robs Chilean Communities of Water

“Before the mining companies arrived here, there was a lot of water. But mining has consumed the groundwater, the companies even take water from the river, so we farmers don't get the water we need any more.”

In the middle of the world's driest desert is a vast expanse of turquoise basins, each one like a colossal swimming pool, up to 20 times the size of a football field.

The pools are filled with a salty brine pumped up from ancient reservoirs under the desert. It also contains lithium carbonate, the raw material for a light, silvery metal that happens to be a component of the batteries now used by virtually all computers, phones and electric cars.

At first glance, Chile's Atacama Desert looks a barren, inhospitable place. Yet indigenous people and animals have long thrived there. Now locals says they're having to compete with the lithium industry for the desert's limited water resources.

Coyo is one of dozens of Likan-antai communities that live in the desert's small oases. The community takes turns to tap the San Pedro River water and after waiting for two weeks, today, Hugo Diaz can finally water his crops.

Makes an interesting discussion, we need to think about how we consume and where everything that goes in to this comes from. Lots of talk about where food comes from, even less discussion as to where other products come from, and like with people thinking food comes from the supermarket, phones, tablets, TVs ,computers do not just come from the local electrical retailer.

#Lithium, #Chile, #mining, #water, #desert, #depletion

You can find me on Friendica at

cc-by logo

Licenced under Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)