For years and years our township has been liberally salting the roads during the winter. It’s routine.
They got their salt from somewhere in New York. But no more.
Recently, a couple of high school chemistry students were experimenting using road salt. What they discovered is astonishing. It turns out that this New York road salt was 25% lithium carbonate, and we all know how important lithium has become.
The students tried to keep their discovery secret to cash in on it. They did their research and learned how to extract the lithium for use in batteries. They found an abandoned paper mill with everything they needed, ordered several tons of salt and proceeded to extract the lithium. Things went well for the first few months, but then the kids started raising suspicions when they each bought high end Teslas and a small private jet. It was obvious that their cover jobs at Walmart certainly did not pay enough to afford the jet.
What they were doing wasn’t illegal, but when the salt quarry found out it stopped selling to them or anyone and went into the lithium business. Unfortunately, it was just a small vein of Li2CO3 and quickly ran out. The quarry had over invested in equipment and loans and as a result went bankrupt.
The kids had gotten lucky. They still have the jet.