Mines and poisoned lands
More than 50% of the world’s lithium resources are found in South America, in the Lithium Triangle of Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. The Salar d’Atacama salt flats in northern Chile are one of the driest, least populated places on the planet. It is home to the world’s largest evaporative lithium production site, which can even be seen from space.
The turquoise, lithium-rich brine is pumped into huge basins. It passes from basin to basin until its concentration reaches 6% and it turns dark yellow.
The remains of coal burnt in a power plant are pumped through pipes into huge basins, which prevent the ash from being released into the atmosphere. Often, the ash is mixed with chemicals, giving the contents of the basins bright colours.