County approves lithium plan | Business
EL CENTRO – Eastern Imperial County has been identified as “one of the few lithium ore mining sites in the world,” according to Imperial County CEO Tony Rouhotas. With the county’s efforts to prepare for work in the lithium and rare mineral mining industry, the Imperial County Board of Supervisors approved a plan on Tuesday, December 21 to continue development of the county’s scarce resource. .
Some of the next steps include meetings with industry representatives, which will begin in January 2022; production of environmental impact reports; obtain state funding for the request for a specific plan proposal (RFP); identify appropriate financial compensation from the industry for long-term financial benefit to the county; among others.
Development Management Group (DMG) managing partner and chief economist Michael Bracken, who was hired in September this year, addressed the board to explain some of the next steps and why they are important.
Supervisor Jesus Escobar had several questions related to the price.
“Why would we invest in this compared to this potential developer who is going to make millions, potentially billions, out of this global resource,” he asked.
âThere is no free lunch. In the first week of January, Director Minnick and I are planning to meet with the various lithium and rare mineral companies to talk to them about their financial participation in these two plansâ¦ because they will benefit, âBracken said. âNow, if they come back – for whatever reason – and say they’re not going to participate, or they’re not going to work together, then we’re going to come back and report that. What we’re trying to do is have a strategy that helps speed up the process. It is still complete, it still has the contribution of the public, it still has all the science, but it is speeding up the process to relaunch the whole industry.
Bracken said it would cost the county “next to nothing” to send out the various tenders and that it would facilitate discussions with potential developers when they inquire about the price to collect this information.
The supervisory board also approved the ratification of a letter to State Senator Ben Hueso and Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia regarding mutual commitment to develop the lithium economy in the Imperial County.
The letter said, “As given with this current momentum and focus, there will be many opportunities, and we should seek and create opportunities, to inform and invite lawmakers, developers, industry groups, and more. on and in the area to show the potential that is in our backyard. However, as a local governing body and licensing entity, we would like to be partners with you as you continue to promote and defend the region and the initiatives.
The letter follows complaints that the Imperial County was not represented in an official capacity on the recent Salton Sea and Geothermal Tour. The board has requested to be included in the planning process going forward for any visit or meeting.
“While we have learned that the State Legislature was not in the lead of the recent Salton Sea and Geothermal tour, we respectfully request to be part of the planning process going forward as any tours or meetings are organized by one of your offices. and / or to be kept informed of others that you may be aware of, âthe letter reads.