Published in Transportation

Oil company moves into lithium mining

by on14 November 2023

ExxonMobil sees the writing on the wall

In what might be a sign of the future, ExxonMobil is venturing into lithium production, and shelling out a pile of dosh to open a mine in southern Arkansas.

Lithium demand is increasing due to demand from the tech and electric vehicle sectors and peak oil is looming.

ExxonMobil aims to begin production by 2027. By 2030, the company anticipates producing enough lithium to power over 1 million electric vehicles annually.

Earlier this year, ExxonMobil purchased 120,000 acres of lithium-rich land spanning a geologic formation -- called the Smackover Formation -- in Arkansas. The company will first drill 10,000 feet below the surface to access the lithium using gas and oil machinery.

From there, it will then use direct lithium extraction (DLE) to separate the lithium from the saltwater it's mixed with. Once that's done, ExxonMobil will inject the saltwater back into the ground.

ExxonMobil says the DLE process "produces fewer carbon emissions than hard rock mining and requires significantly less land."

The company will produce the battery-grade lithium on-site, called Mobil Lithium. Technically, this isn't the first time ExxonMobil is involved in the battery business, as the company manufactured the first lithium-ion battery in the 1970s.

Last modified on 14 November 2023
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