Lithium is going to be more and more important in the future.
Maine is sitting on quite possible the largest single lithium deposit anywhere. Right in the town of Newry, near Plumbago Mountain. When I say large...literally $1.5 billion worth of it in the ground. Some of the individual crystals are over 35 feet long, and have been brought to the surface over millions of years.
Lithium is going to be increasingly important in the coming years, as more car manufacturers look for ways to move away from fossil fuels. Right now, the only other option are electric cars. This hard rock lithium is the raw material needed to make the batteries for those cars. And again, Maine is sitting on billions of dollars worth.
Not so fast with that pick axe, mister....
Naturally, your first thought, probably like mine, is that it should just be dug up and take the money. But.... Maine has no active mines. In fact, there are recently enacted mining laws on the books that may make it impossible for this lithium to be mined at all. The laws are in place to protect Maine's environment, but this seems like a different story.
Maine's laws are specific to mining metals. Yes, you can go pan for gold all you want, but no large scale, open pit operations are currently allowed in Maine. Mining can be absolutely devastating to any given environment, hurting waterways, and causing all sorts of industrial pollution and waste. And lithium is a metal, so it technically falls under these laws.
And let's not forget, someone owns that land.
According to The Maine Monitor, Mary and Gary Freeman own the land the deposit sits on. Though they are active gem collectors, they're being very cautious about how this whole thing is handled. They've already made it very clear they're not willing to sell the land, so any mining will likely have to go through them as well.
This may get messy, and take quite a while to figure out, but most folks seem to agree that maybe this Maine law goes a bit far, and that considering the size of the deposit, an exception may have to be made, but it's hard to say. We'll just have to see how it all plays out....