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Lithium Exploration Ongoing In Desert Southwest

A group of geophysicists from Arizona are headed to Nevada to help one company drill for lithium brine, the raw material used to make cellphone batteries. The desert Southwest is the nation’s only home to the resource.

The demand for lithium-based products, like cellphone batteries and car batteries, is increasing worldwide. So is the price — except for 2010, lithium prices have shown 11 years of increases, corresponding with battery demand.

Nevada is home to the only operational lithium producing mine in the United States.

James Walker is CEO of Lithium Energy Products, based out of Canada, and said his company, like others, is spending major resources to explore the Southwest.

"Arizona too. We had the lease on it, in Wilcox Playa. We observed an electromagnetic field just above the Playa which was indicative of brines being submerged beneath the surface,” Walker said.

Currently, 80 percent of the world’s lithium supply comes from South America.

Heather van Blokland was a host at KJZZ from 2016 to 2021.