Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lithium Reserves And Tibet

Ever hear about "we are running out of Lithium"? I did, so this blog post saying we had plenty interested me. What I found the most interesting was this bit near the end of the article.

As to the issue of American lithium resources, Evans pointed out that a single geothermal well in southern California can produce enough lithium to meet all of the world's current demand for lithium. There are also lithium-bearing clays called Hectorite and oilfield brines that contain commercially-viable concentrations of lithium, though they would be more expensive to produce compared to the high desert brines in the Andes and Tibet.

How much lithium is there in the world in Evan's professional analysis? He estimates it at 28.4 million tonnes of lithium, which is equivalent to 150 million tonnes of lithium carbonate. Current world demand is 16,000 tonnes.
So lots of Lithium in Tibet. Maybe that is one of the reasons China is hanging on to Tibet so tenaciously.


Neil said...

By holding Tibet, China extends their border to the easily-defended natural barrier of the Himalays. By gaining influence in Tibet, India would extend their reach beyond the Himalayas and be able to militarily threaten the Chinese heartland. (Note that the Dalai Lama has his home base in India these days.)

That's probably enough explanation for me.

M. Simon said...


Thanks for that. I should have looked at a map.

linearthinker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neil said...

Stratfor pointed that out in an article. Just passing along the observation.

LarryD said...

Unless someone is working on a lithium burning fusion reactor, the biggest prospective use for lithium is in PHEV's. Sounds like there is enough lithium around to support that, though I'd like figures, just to make sure.

linearthinker said...

Does your PHEV refer to an electric plug-in car? If so, I'm wondering where they think the energy will come from to feed all those batteries. If California can't supply the grid now without rolling blackouts, just wait until LA, Sacto, SF, and the Central Valley commuters go electric. The results would not be unintended consequences. They would be the fruits of stupidity.

(I know it's not your idea.)