Smackover Formation 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 Broad area of oil and gas production from the Smackover Formation in northeast Texas, extending from the Forth Worth Basin across southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana. Historical and current geochemical analyses indicate an extensive area with 500+ ppm (mg/L) lithium concentrations. Infrastructure already in place and water being recovered in the oil pumping process and reinjected subsurface via saltwater disposal wells.
Identified resources Indicated resources of lithium. Historical and current production of bromine.
Production Production data collected by the USGS from two companies producing bromine from the Smackover Formation are withheld to avoid disclosing company proprietary information.
Status Two companies are extracting bromine from the Smackover Formation. Standard Lithium is developing a project for extraction of lithium from Smackover brine.
Estimated resources A Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) from Standard Lithium predicts a resource (1,000 kg lithium carbonate equivalent) of 3,140,000 (Warren, 2021).
Geologic maps No appropriate maps show the buried Smackover Formation.
Geophysical data Inadequate aeromagnetic and aeroradiometric coverage. Unknown if any deep seismic lines intersect the area.
Favorable rocks and structures Jurassic Smackover Formation.
Deposits Smackover-Lanxess (USMIN Site_ID: AR00002).
Evidence from mineral occurrences USMIN; Warren (2021).
Geochemical evidence Smackover brines contain 168 mg/L Li (Warren, 2021). The geochemistry of liquids, gases, and rocks from the Smackover Formation are given in Collins (1974).
Geophysical evidence No data.
Evidence from other sources Only oilfield brine chemistry and more recent Li characterization studies by industry and junior exploration companies.
Comments High priority due to existing infrastructure and current production of waters, but will require an economic separation process and extraction mechanism. The Smackover Formation has perhaps the highest Li concentrations in continental brines in the United States.
Cover thickness and description 7,000-13,000 ft below the surface.
Authors Brent A. Elliott.
New data needs Need samples and widespread geochemical analysis from Smackover Formation core and produced water samples.
Geologic mapping and modeling needs Surface mapping not appropriate; 3D formation map needed.
Geophysical survey and modeling needs Well correlation stratigraphy and isopach/isochore maps needed.
Digital elevation data needs Not appropriate; buried resource.