ExxonMobil will drill its first lithium well in south Arkansas beginning this month, the company announced Monday.
The announcement is the beginning of a rush to extract the mineral, a critical component in electric vehicle batteries, from the Smackover Formation.
Earlier this year, ExxonMobil bought 120,000 acres in South Arkansas to extract brine containing the metal out of one of the largest deposits containing lithium in North America. The company’s first well will be located near Magnolia in Columbia County.
Speaking at a news conference at the state Capitol, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the announcement is a sign of a major economic windfall coming to south Arkansas.
“I’m not being dramatic when I say this has the potential to transform our state,” Sanders said. “Companies like Exxon have already directed millions of dollars to the region, and once they and others are in full operation some estimate that the Natural State could produce 15% of the world’s finished lithium supply.”