In Chile's desert lie vast reserves of lithium — key for electric car batteries

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A worker performs maintenance on pipes used during brine extraction at a lithium mine in the Atacama Desert in Chile on Aug. 24. Paz Olivares Droguett for NPR

Paz Olivares Droguett for NPR

ATACAMA DESERT, Chile — In the middle of the desert in northern Chile, massive pools of Caribbean blue water sit next to what appear to be snowdrifts.

But this is a lithium mine.

The pools are filled with salty groundwater that contains lithium. It’s a key component in the rechargeable lithium-ion

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