Here’s Where the Juice That Powers Batteries Comes From

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Ashlee Vance explores lithium mining in Chile’s Atacama Desert.Ashlee Vance, the author of a biography of Elon Musk, traveled to Chile’s Atacama Desert, where the world’s largest deposits of lithium are found, for a recent episode of Bloomberg’s Hello World travel program.

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image credit: Bloomberg

Salar de Atacama is the largest salt flat in Chile. It is located 55 km south of San Pedro de Atacama, is surrounded by mountains, and has no drainage outlets. In the east it is enclosed by the main chain of the Andes.

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image credit: Bloomberg

Salar de Atacama is the world’s largest and purest active source of lithium,containing 27% of the world’s lithium reserve base,and as of 2008 provided almost 30% of the world’s lithium carbonate supply, followed by China with 23%.

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High lithium concentration in its brine (2,700 parts per million), a high rate of evaporation (3,500 mm per year), and extremely low annual rainfall (<30 mm average per year).

Which makes Atacama’s finished lithium carbonate easier and cheaper to produce than what could be produced in the neighboring Salar de Uyuni, which is estimated to have half of the lithium reserves in the world.

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SOURCEwikipedia
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