Lithium found in fake “fool's gold” – it could become much more expensive in the future

Gold has been one of the most valuable materials on Earth since time immemorial. It is expensive due to its rarity, durability, ductility, high electrical conductivity and beauty. Because of all these properties, it is actively used not only in jewelry, but also as a component of electronic equipment. Gold is mined in deep mines, and sometimes the precious metal is discovered on the surface by ordinary people. But in some cases, the lucky ones rejoice in vain, because there are several minerals in the world that look very similar to gold, but do not possess any of its valuable properties. One similar precious metal mineral is pyrite, which is also known as “fool's gold.” Even for a huge piece of pyrite today no one will give a lot of money. But scientists believe that this deceptive mineral may become more valuable in the future because some samples have been found to contain lithium, a metal that plays a huge role in the modern world and is very important for the future of humanity.

Lithium found in fake 'fool's gold' - could go up in price in the future. Pyrite is a worthless mineral that looks a lot like gold. Image source: Photo.

Pyrite is a useless mineral that is very similar to gold. Image source:


  • 1 What is lithium metal used for
  • 2 Sources of lithium on Earth
  • 3 The mineral pyrite may become more expensive in the future
  • 4 Replacement for lithium-ion batteries

What is lithium metal used for?

Lithium is a light, silvery-white metal that was discovered in 1817. It was first used to make porcelain and glass, but today it is needed to make lithium-ion batteries for smartphones, electric vehicles and other equipment. In nature, lithium is mined in mines or waters with large amounts of dissolved minerals.

What is the metal lithium used for? Lithium is very important for modern technologies, so it costs a lot of money. Image source: Photo.

Lithium is very important for modern technologies, so it costs a lot of money. Image source:

Every year, humanity mines approximately 100,000 tons of lithium. For now, this is enough, but the amount of electronic equipment in the world is growing, so by 2030, to maintain technical progress, it will be necessary to extract from 240,000 to 450,000 tons of “white gold.” Known reserves of lithium are already declining, so scientists are looking for new sources of this resource.

Read also:The smallest nuclear battery has been created – with it, smartphones will work for 50 years without recharging

Sources of lithium on Earth

In late 2023, a rich source of lithium was found in California's Salton Sea Lake. The study showed that 18 million tons of lithium are dissolved in its waters, which could be enough to provide energy to a billion people. If scientists can develop a method to safely extract this resource, our world could change dramatically. In particular, humanity will be able to completely switch to electric cars that do not emit exhaust gases into the air.

Sources of lithium on Earth. California's Salton Sea Lake may become the richest source of lithium. Image source: Photo.

California's Salton Sea could become the world's richest source of lithium. Image source:

Also, a rich source of lithium was found on the border of the US states of Nevada and Oregon. Millions of years ago, the McDermitt volcano erupted there – only a huge depression reminds of this event today. Almost the entire basin is composed of clay with magnesium smectite, which is a known source of lithium. Especially a lot of “white gold” was found at the southern edge of the basin, and the US authorities already want to start mining this resource.

IMPORTANT: Read more about this find in the article “The largest lithium deposit discovered at the site of an ancient volcano, but scientists are against its mining.”

Pyrite mineral may rise in price in the future

Recently, scientists reported the discovery of another rich source of lithium. As part of their scientific work, they studied 15 samples of sedimentary rocks of the Appalachian mountain system in North America. To their surprise, they contained a lot of the mineral pyrite. These samples had an interesting feature – the structure of the mineral contained the metal lithium, which, as can be understood from everything written above, is very highly valued. Scientists don’t know exactly how these two resources connected with each other, but they want to find out. What they're most interested in is whether pyrite from other parts of the planet contains lithium, or whether the Appalachian mineral is unique.

The mineral pyrite may become more expensive in the future. Perhaps lithium is contained only in Pyrite from the Appalachians. Source: Photo.

Perhaps lithium is only found in Pyrite from the Appalachians. Source:

The mineral pyrite in ancient times was the raw material for the production of sulfuric acid. In the modern world, it is added to cement, and there is no other use for this resource. Typically, the mineral is mined in large quantities during the processing of deposits of copper, lead and other non-ferrous metals. In Russia, pyrite is available in huge quantities in the Urals and Altai.

You may be interested: The largest gold coin in the world weighs 1 ton – you can pay in smaller copies in stores

Replacement for lithium-ion batteries

Fool's gold is not valuable today, but if lithium can actually be extracted from it, it could become a very valuable resource in the future. However, it cannot be ruled out that humanity will be able to invent a cheaper alternative to lithium-ion batteries – scientists have recently taken a big step in this direction. There is also a possibility that lithium-ion batteries will be replaced by diamond batteries made from nuclear waste.

Replacement for lithium-ion batteries. It is possible that someday lithium-ion batteries will be replaced by nuclear ones. Image source: Photo.

It is possible that someday lithium-ion batteries will be replaced by nuclear ones. Image source:

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If you read the article to the end, be sure to pay attention to our materials, which at one time received a record number of views. Firstly, this is an article about the largest gold nugget, which has no analogues. Secondly, read the material about the richest gold deposit, in which people earned billions of dollars.