New piece of legislation in California aims to clarify regulation on mining lithium from geothermal brine by making it exempt from certain state and federal regulation as are other byproducts of geothermal power production.
A new piece of legislation on mining lithium from geothermal brine in California is currently going through the legislative process. It is supposed to help a new technology to be developed that allows mining lithium, a crucial metal element in electric batteries, to be derived from geothermal brine in the Salton Sea region.
The legislation is aimed at Simbol Materials, a company that is planning to mine lithium from geothermal brine from the Hudson Ranch geothermal plant in the Salton Sea.
The legislation, Assembly Bill 2205, would – so a recent Forbes article – “clarify that geothermal brine is exempt from certain state and federal legislation as are other byproducts of geothermal power production currently under the law.”
In an analysis done on behalf of the state Senate the bill “seeks to clarify that existing regulations and exemptions that apply to geothermal plants also apply to new processes that extract materials from geothermal waste in connection with that plant in a closed-loop system. The proposed amendment is intended to provide certainty to both geothermal developers and extraction companies, ensuring that neither party’s geothermal exemption will be imperiled due to the extraction of beneficial commercial substances.”