USGS refers to Clayton Valley (Esmeralda Country, Nevada) the best-known lithium deposit in the world1, with the only producing lithium mine in North America (Albemarle). The region is rich in lithium brine with a recent lithium discovery by Pure Energy Minerals.
Southern Lithium believes Clayton Valley to be a strategic position for several reasons:
- Tesla: Clayton Valley is about 3.5 hour drive from Tesla’s new Gigafactory
- Infrastructure: well maintained state highways and a thriving industry
- Mining culture dating back to 1860s
East Fault Project
Southern Lithium’s 850-hectare East Fault property lies to the south of Albemarle’s lithium producing mine and immediately to the east of Pure Energy’s Clayton Valley claims. The property is strategically positioned along 11 kilometers of the East Fault, which appears to be the main bounding fault that forms the southeast edge of the Clayton Valley basin, forming a half-graben in the southeast margin of the basin.
The basin is analogous to a large tilted bathtub where the lithium may have potentially concentrated close to the East Fault. Layered aquifers comprised of basinal sediments containing the lithium brines may dip into, thicken, and be enriched towards the edge of the tilted basin, against the basin-bounding East Fault. Brine pools in Clayton Valley are localized along active intrabasinal faults (like the East Fault) that control the distribution of aquifers and also influence groundwater movement patterns. At Clayton Valley, the lithium brines are pumped from six gently dipping aquifers that are variously composed of ash, fanglomerate, tufa, and halite. 1 The highest lithium concentrations at Clayton Valley are found in brines produced from the tuff aquifer where it abuts the faults and forms a structural trap for the dense brines 2
1 U.S.G.S. Open-File Report 2013–1006
2 U.S.G.S. Bulletin 1622