Desalination tech turns the oceans into unlimited lithium mine

The ocean is full of lithium salts and getting at it will simply be a byproduct of desalinating drinking water from seawater. This process is growing, especially as climate change is putting cities like Capetown in water crisis. The downside is the incredible energy it takes to produce fresh water.
But these are solvable problems, especially as freshwater is dumped into our oceans from the melting ice caps.
New technologies like metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) will start to alleviate the energy use issue as well. New Atlas describes the technology:
MOFs boast the largest internal surface area of any known material. Unfolded, a single gram of the material could theoretically cover a football field, and it’s this intricate internal structure that makes MOFs perfect for capturing, storing and releasing molecules. Recent research into the material could see MOFs put to work as carbon emission sponges, high-precision chemical sensors, and urban water filters.
So basically, a larger surface area means less pumping power to get water through this filter, saving energy. But there’s an added benefit: this membrane can separate out lithium from the other chemical compounds in the ocean. From the abstract of the paper Ultrafast selective transport of alkali metal ions in metal organic frameworks with subnanometer pores (PDF)
For instance, currently, separation and purification of minerals such as lithium salts from rocks and brines involve the use of large amounts of chemicals and/or time-consuming solar ponds, which is costly and environmentally unfriendly. Therefore, the development of highly efficient lithium ion separation membranes is key to addressing this technological challenge, especially with increasing demand for energy storage materials (such as for lithium batteries) and the decline in the reserves of these resources.