Salton Sea Lithium Opportunities Accelerated by General Motors and Controlled Thermal Resources Strategic Lithium Supply Agreement

Salton Sea

(Imperial Valley, CA) – Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) applauds the agreement between General Motors (GM) and Controlled Thermal Resources to secure local and low-cost lithium. Controlled Thermal Resources’ Hell's Kitchen Lithium and Power development in the Salton Sea Geothermal Field is located in Imperial County, California, the largest known geothermal resource in the world.


Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on California’s Lithium Economy, said, “Our efforts to galvanize a thriving, robust lithium economy in our Salton Sea region are becoming a reality more and more each day. With the ability to meet one-third of the global lithium demand, our Imperial County, Salton Sea area, can take center stage in the future of our domestic lithium supply chain. This strategic agreement between Controlled Thermal Resources and General Motors marks the first major investment in actualizing that vision.”


Garcia continued, “After years of laying the groundwork, we are ready to move forward pedal to the metal on our cleaner air, electric vehicle, and climate goals while utilizing these economic development opportunities to bring vital resources, improve public health, and uplift overall circumstances in our region. More than ever, we must continue to elevate our community engagement efforts to ensure local stakeholders and residents are in the driver’s seat as we set this new course. Our work last year (AB 1657, E. Garcia) to establish the Lithium Valley Commission will help ensure that.”


In their July 2 announcement, General Motors stated that they would be the first company to make a multi-million dollar investment in Controlled Thermal Resources Hell's Kitchen project, “The relationship between GM and CTR is expected to accelerate the adoption of lithium extraction methods that cause less impact to the environment. A significant amount of GM's future battery-grade lithium hydroxide and carbonate could come from CTR's Hell's Kitchen Lithium and Power development in the Salton Sea Geothermal Field, located in Imperial, California. With the help of GM's investment, CTR's closed-loop, direct extraction process will recover lithium from geothermal brine.”


On Wednesday, May 26, 2021, Rod Colwell, Chief Executive Officer of Controlled Thermal Resources provided key testimony at Assemblymember Garcia’s first California's Lithium Economy Select Committee hearing. Colwell presented slides with an overview of their local project and lithium recovery technology.


In 2020, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia passed AB 1657 creating a Blue Ribbon Commission on Lithium Extraction in California (Lithium Valley Commission) to bring together industry experts and community stakeholders to review, analyze, and report recommendations to advance lithium extraction opportunities. A final report is due to the California State Legislature by October 1, 2022.