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• The photo shows a copper mine in Chile, not a mine for lithium.
Seeking to simplify the complicated issue of clean energy, social media posts have proliferated claiming to show pictures of the destruction left by lithium mining for hybrid and electric-vehicle batteries.
The problem is that many of these posts have been wrong about what the images show. And a new one from a March 24 post follows that pattern with a photo it says shows "one of Tesla's lithium supply mines where entire mountains are eliminated."
The post includes two images, of an oil well and a mine. The caption says the oil well is where "100% organic material is pumped out of the ground, taking up around 500 to 1000 square feet," contrasting that with the mine, which it says "came at a cost of entire mountains, thousands of square miles of land and billions of gallons of oil and fuel."
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
BBC, "Chilean Supreme court orders halt to mine," Oct. 7, 2014
Facebook post, March 24, 2022
Getty Images, "Mine de Chuquicamata au Chili," accessed May 10, 2022
GreenBiz, "Lithium mining is booming — here’s how to manage its impact," Aug. 11, 2021
Mining.com, "Tesla secures 5-year lithium supply from Liontown," Feb. 16, 2022
Natural Resources Defense Council, "Lithium Mining Is Leaving Chile’s Indigenous Communities High and Dry (Literally)," April 26, 2022
New York Times, "How Green Are Electric Vehicles?" March 2, 2021
New York Times, "The Lithium Gold Rush: Inside the Race to Power Electric Vehicles," May 6, 2021
PolitiFact, "Photo shows a gold mine, not lithium mine for hybrid cars," May 26, 2021
PolitiFact, "The image in this meme does not show a lithium mine, as posts claim," March 31, 2021
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