Effects of Mining Lithium

Even though you will not be individually mining the lithium used in your batteries, you should still be aware of the environmental concerns of this process. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted a study on the materials and production of a lithium-ion battery. The study concluded that mining these chemicals can cause the following:

  • resource depletion
  • global warming
  • ecological toxicity (Kaiser, 2013)

Some chemicals used in lithium-ion battery production are very rare and exist in tiny quantities. Rare metals are mined in China by passing bags of dirt through several acid baths, leaving behind the rare materials. “Those rare earths amounted to 0.2 percent of what gets pull out of the ground. The other 99.8 percent-now contaminated with toxic chemicals-is dumped back into the environment” (Wade, 2016).  Overall, almost every stage of the lithium mining process can lead to harmful environmental effects.

18 Awe-Inspiring Aerial Images of the World’s Mega Mines. (2014, August 18). Retrieved April 19, 2016, from http://whenonearth.net/awe-inspiring-aerial-images-worlds-mega-mines/


Kaiser, T. (2013, June 3). Study: Lithium-Ion Batteries Can Impact Environment, Health Negatively. Retrieved April 8, 2016, from http://www.dailytech.com/Study LithiumIon Batteries Can Impact Environment Health Negatively/ article31678.htm

Wade, L. (n.d.). Tesla’s Electric Cars Aren’t as Green as You Might Think. Retrieved April 8, 2016, from http://www.wired.com/2016/03/teslas-electric-cars-might-not-green-think/