Critical Raw Materials

The clean energy transition from fossil fuels-based energy has spurred international exploration and increased extraction of critical raw materials (CRM) to be used in the development of clean energy technologies. Lithium is expected to have the largest increase in demand of any other CRM due to this transition, with primarily uses in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and grid storage. Globally, lithium is produced from two major resource types, lithium-rich brines and lithium-rich pegmatites. Globally, the environmental impacts of lithium mining have been relatively understudied, while in many cases CRM mining has been shown in some cases to have extensive environmental impacts. Duke research aims to generate a systematic and comprehensive evaluation of the potential water quality risks induced from lithium mining.