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Report: Itochu To Join Lithium Extraction Project in California

The Nikkei reports that Itochu Corp. is participating in a project to extract lithium from the produced water from geothermal power generation at a site in California.

Itochu has taken a roughly 20% stake in Simbol Mining Corp., a company founded in 2007 to produce commodity minerals and metals—specifically lithium, manganese, and zinc—from geothermal, oil and gas, and other brines. Itochu has obtained exclusive sales rights for Asia, except for India, according to the report.

The lithium will be produced at geothermal power facilities near the Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley region of Southern California. The lithium will be extracted from water geothermally heated underground and used for power generation. The lithium will be ready for shipment after undergoing dehydration and concentration processes.

The project will target annual production of 16,000 tons, or nearly 20% of the current global output, after three to four years.

Itochu is also an investor in Li-ion battery manufacturer Ener1. (Earlier post.)



I believe this might be 16,000 tons of lithium carbonate, which contains around 18% of pure lithium by weight:
'Simbol is setting up its first shop in the Salton Sea in southern California and plans to connect modular lithium extractor to four geothermal plants. They say that each plan can produce 16,000 tons of lithium carbonate, or roughly the equivalent of the world's 3rd largest producer. '


There are lots of deposits in the U.S. Bolivia may be overplaying their hand before it is one. They want all kinds of assurances but they may just deal themselves out of a market.


Lithium is present in many places and more extraction will take place when the market is there and the price is right. The world will certainly not run out of lithium soon.


When the price is right??? So, then we should expect an increase in the price on lithium. Consequently, the battery cost will increase, or???

The fact seems to be that we have not really started to deploy EVs yet and there is already discussion about a shortage of lithum. What kind of scam is this?

Thomas Lankester


'the battery cost will increase, or??'
or the last 15 years of technical innovation on Li batteries, surprisingly, continues with increased kWh per kg of Li. The new Panasonic cells, LiS and Li air chemistries, Si electrodes, better control of electrode nanostructures....

Is this all going to just stop?
The Si feedstock shortage for PV cells a few years ago did not prevent 20-30% growth in production / deployment PA but it did help foster far more effective use of Si and innovations in non-Si thin cell and organic cells.

'The fact seems to be that we have not really started to deploy EVs yet'
So all those Li battery Teslas, e-MINIs, Smart EDs, MiEVs, TH!NKs, Reva quadricycles, pedalecs and scooters deployed on the road are not 'in fact' there?

I have to say that I have done remarkably well commuting to work for the last 15 months on a Li battery electric scooter that has not 'really' been deployed.

I just float around in mid-air pretending.

The Crazy Frog


Also, production of purified Si increased dramatically and ultimately the cost dropped to below where it started up from. Silicon is very plentiful.

Lithium is not as plentiful, but it is still very abundant. Claims of lithium scarcity are nonsense, same as claims of silicon scarcity were.
Also, Lithium itself is only a small fraction of the cost of a Lithium battery, so an increase in the price does not affect the price of the Lithium battery much.

Stan Peterson

Litium is some 6% of the Earth's crust. So it is much less rare than other things like Aluminum, Copper or Lead.

To speak of a shortage is hogwash, and something only a John Holdren type fool could believe.


And let's not forget that the lithium in batteries can all be recycled and will be. This is a hot new start-up industry playing into the consumer and EV markets.

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