Mining company exploring Willcox Playa for lithium

Max Power Mining Corp, of Canada, recently received permits to explore the Willcox Playa for lithium deposits. The company owns mines in northern Canada. - Contributed Image/Max Power Mining Corp

WILLCOX — The Willcox area could find itself with another industry in addition to wine — mining.

However, it’s not copper that could be under the area’s soil, but lithium.

Max Power Mining Corp of Canada has begun exploration of the Wilcox Playa for lithium.

A U.S. Geological Survey report indicates the Playa could be a significant source of lithium, and Max Power Mining has secured leases from the State of Arizona for further exploration.

Lithium has a number of uses — in aluminum, greases, polymers and medicines — but its primarily found in batteries, and ceramic and glass making. With the growth of electric vehicles, lithium demand is expected to grow from 500,000 tons in 2021 to upward of 4 million tons by 2030.

Max Power Mining also recently announced an agreement with the University of California Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory for research and development of a direct lithium extraction method from brine resources.