Clayton Valley-Rhyolite Ridge lithium

Region West, Southwest
Mineral systems
Deposit types
Critical minerals
Other minerals

Information leading to the delineation of this focus area

Basis for focus area Playas from the Nevada state geologic map (Stewart and Carlson, 1978) that fall within the outline of the Ralston-Stone Cabin Valleys HUC8 watershed and the southern parts of the Fish Lake Soda Spring Valleys and Southern Big Smoky Valley HUC8 watersheds. Includes the known deposits at Clayton Valley and Rhyolite Ridge and exploration at Alkali Spring Valley lithium project.
Identified resources Historical and current production of lithium.
Production Albemarle grossed $39.62M from Li in 2017; 4642 tonnes Li compounds, with an average concentration of 100-300 ppm Li in brine (Silver Peak mine/plant).
Status Past and current production and exploration.
Estimated resources Resources for brines: 217.7 kilotonnes drainable Inferred resource estimate for brines with average Li concentration of 123 ppm. Resources for sediments: lithium contained in the pit-constrained Indicated Resource totals 1,179.9 million kg of Li, or 6.28 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) (Fayram and others, 2020). Inferred resources of 330,670 tonnes, grade 858 ppm Li from clays at the Zeus project (Peek and Barrie, 2019).
Geologic maps Foy and others (2016), scale 1:24,000; Albers and Stewart (1965), scale 1:200,000; Stewart and Carlson (1978), scale 1:500,000.
Geophysical data Inadequate aeromagnetic and aeroradiometric coverage.
Favorable rocks and structures Unconsolidated sediments in closed basins; Miocene to Pliocene sediments of the Esmeralda Formation.
Deposits Multiple claims in the Clayton Valley-Rhyolite Ridge area; Clayton Valley-Cypress, deposit (USMIN Site_ID: NV00143).
Evidence from mineral occurrences USMIN; Peek and Barrie (2019); Fayram and others (2020); Peek (2020).
Geochemical evidence Data available in NI 43-101 technical reports (Peek and Barrie, 2019; Peek, 2020; Fayram and others, 2020).
Geophysical evidence Unknown.
Evidence from other sources Unknown.
Comments Models for Li brines and clays both require a Li source, and the source will be Neogene volcanic and sedimentary rocks within a HUC or within a neighboring HUC. Mapping could identify these lithologies and their location with respect to basins (in the center of a HUC).
Cover thickness and description Sediment and clay at the surface and at depth.
Authors Lisa L. Stillings.
New data needs Geologic mapping, geophysics, geochemistry.
Geologic mapping and modeling needs Updated geologic mapping.
Geophysical survey and modeling needs Any geophysics that can define basin depth, geometry, volume, cross-cutting structures would be helpful for calculating the volume of brine, where to drill in the basin, or whether basin fluids might flow into an adjacent basin.
Digital elevation data needs Lidar in progress (GeoDAWN).