April 7 (Reuters) – Rio Tinto, General Motors and even the U.S. Energy Department are investing heavily in a crop of newer technologies that could revolutionize the way lithium is produced for electric vehicle batteries.
Now those technologies just have to prove they work on a commercial scale.
If they do, miners will be able to boost global lithium production with a footprint far smaller than open-pit mines and evaporation ponds, which often are the size of multiple football fields and unpopular with local communities.
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These so-called direct lithium extraction (DLE)