Is Lithium Mining Worse Than Oil Drilling? 

Lithium and oil are two resources that we rely on daily. From the batteries in our mobile phones to the oil in our cars, lithium, and oil are essential elements in our society. But while we are exposed to devices and machines that require these substances daily, not everyone is aware of the environmental impact associated with lithium mining and oil drilling. 

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the mining and drilling processes required to extract these two elements in order to determine which one is worse for the environment. 

What Is Lithium Mining? 

In order to extract lithium from the earth, it must be mined from either an open mine or a salt desert known as a salar. Using heavy-duty machinery and a variety of chemicals, lithium is extracted from the ground and sold to manufacturers as the main material used to create rechargeable batteries. Lithium batteries are found in… 

  • Smartphones 
  • Smartwatches 
  • Electric cars 
  • Laptops 
  • And more 

While lithium is an essential material found in many of our technological devices, the mining of this element is extremely harmful to the environment and can cause: 

  • Soil contamination 
  • Water contamination 
  • Excess amount of carbon dioxide emissions 
  • Biodiversity loss 
  • Toxic waste 

What Is Oil Drilling? 

Oil drilling refers to a complex process that involves the extraction of oil from the ground by drilling a large hole deep below the Earth’s surface. The well of oil is removed with specifically manufactured machinery and requires certain chemicals throughout the extraction process. 

Oil extracted from the drilling process is used to… 

  • Propel vehicles 
  • Produce artificial heat 
  • Product electricity 
  • Lubricate 

Like with lithium, oil has a variety of uses that we rely on in our daily lives whether we realize it or not. These two substances are also similar, in the sense that the extraction processes are harmful to the environment. Here are the consequences associated with drilling for oil: 

  • Can ruin land and marine ecosystems 
  • Releases dangerous emissions into the atmosphere 
  • Increases the chance of oil spills 
  • Displaces wildlife 

Lithium Mining vs. Oil Drilling: Which Is Worse? 

Both of these extraction processes are bad for the environment. Not only do they both release harmful emissions into the atmosphere and land, but they also pollute waterways and deplete land fertility. 

When it comes to deciding which process is worse, the answer points to drilling oil. The justification of this answer is based on the fact that drilling oil has been occurring for far longer than lithium mining, but the mining of lithium is just the lesser of two evils…for now. 

Want to Replace Toxic Chemicals with Eco-Friendly Alternatives? 

We offer a wide range of eco-friendly chemical products specifically catered to your company’s chemical needs. Want to learn more about how our products can help your company? Contact one of our chemical experts today!