Thankfully, we are moving toward not needing to debate between electric vehicles (EVs) and gas-powered cars. Most people now understand that a 2003 Cadillac’s footprint will be more taxing on the environment than a Tesla. The discussion has since moved on to a flurry of other talking points like how to make electric cars cost-effective, whether EV upstarts have the proper quality control and safety insight, and how the world plans to electrify its entire transportation sector on the backs of a finite resource.
The final concern is that access to a reliable supply of metals like cobalt and lithium is often highly dependent on several international factors. A significant one is whether the owners of these deposits are willing to work with American manufacturers.
Lithium access is a top priority for EV manufacturers. The metal is the primary component of lithium-ion batteries, the most common electric or non-emission power unit in clean vehicles today. The relative scarcity of the material means worldwide lithium stores are kept under close watch. Even if a nation doesn’t intend to go renewable anytime soon, the metal could still be a valuable source of revenue for decades.
This need is why Western manufacturers and energy companies have found themselves scouring every inch of the continental U.S. for trace amounts of the substance. Though many were unsuccessful, one small energy startup says it has struck gold in the central American South. Now touting independent validation to prove it, Galvanic Energy looks to have discovered a supply that could change the domestic EV market as we know it.
The Oklahoma-based energy company announced this July that a third-party report had validated Galvanic’s claim of a massive lithium deposit existing at Smackover Formation in Arkansas.
The land, of which Galvanic owns more than 100,000 acres, was certified by APEX Geoscience Ltd, a geological consulting firm. In its report, APEX estimated the prospect to have 4 million tons of lithium carbonate equivalent, more than four times the 750,000 tons of lithium the U.S. has in official reserves.
If accurate, the 4 million tons would put Smackover Formation among the largest single lithium resources on the entire continent. While it doesn’t crack the top 10 list of deposits found worldwide, the number is nothing to sneeze at for the U.S., which has admittedly seen itself falling behind in the rare earth metals race.
Industry leaders have stated how important this discovery is for American EV progression. “The significance of 4 million tons of domestic LCE is evident,” said Brent Wilson, Galvanic president and CEO. “This is enough lithium to power 50 million electric vehicles, or in other words, enough EVs to replace one in six registered automobiles in the United States.”
Time will tell when extraction begins. It’s clear that Wilson is in no rush, instead wanting to ensure the operation is in the proper hands for such a valuable commodity. Galvanic has not ruled out the prospect of including partners with more experience.
Still, the nation’s increasing interest in making the transition to EVs makes Wilson aware that they can’t just sit on this indefinitely. “Electric vehicle makers are very concerned about keeping pace with the mass quantities of batteries they are going to need, so we realize we need to ramp up both quickly and responsibly,” he said.