Environment A new 'gold rush' for lithium at Salton Sea could hurt Native lands, as mining often does

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They say the only people who made money during the gold rush were the people selling picks and shovels.

Folks were so focused on getting rich they stopped thinking straight. They made bad decisions. Went broke. According to the Quechan creation story, gold comes from the blood of a giant snake. It is said that digging up this gold can only bring death, so we try not to mess with it.

Yet companies like KORE mining keep trying to destroy our sacred sites at Indian Pass, in eastern Imperial County, to dig for gold. They only think about the millions and millions of dollars they can make, not about the destruction they will bring to desert ecosystems and our Native community.

Today we are facing another mining rush, except it isn’t just gold this time. It’s other metals like lithium that we need for electric cars.

A bit west of Indian Pass, new technologies for lithium extraction are being proposed near the Salton Sea on the ancestral lands of several tribes. The companies promise jobs and minimal environmental impact, but we’ve heard those promises before. We need free, prior and informed consent before any type of extraction goes ahead.

 
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