Columbus Basin Project
Our Columbus Basin Project was our first effort in the lithium diversification program, and the project was acquired through the staking of approximately 11,200 acres (4,000 hectares) of federal mining claims covering significant portions of the Columbus Salt Marsh area in western Nevada. The project is situated approximately 27 miles (43 kilometers) northwest of the only lithium brine production facility in the United States at Albemarle Corporation’s Clayton Valley/Silver Peak brine recovery operation, and approximately 137 miles (221 kilometers) southeast of Tesla Motors’ “Gigafactory”.
The Columbus Basin Project is located in western Nevada, approximately 45 miles (72 kilometers) west of Tonopah, Nevada, and 140 miles (227 kilometers) southeast of of Reno, Nevada. The Columbus Basin Project has excellent access, via paved federal highways U.S. 6 and U.S. 95, which cross the southern and western parts of the project area.
Initial reconnaissance-scale geochemical sampling by Company-personnel returned assay values from near-surface brines in the range of 70 to 170 ppm, and sediment samples that ranged in value from 69 ppm to 176 ppm lithium, as determined by ALS Minerals’ analytical laboratory in Reno, Nevada.
After the initial reconnaissance of the project area we completed a detailed grid geochemical sampling program of surface sediments across our entire Columbus Basin property to further characterize the extent of lithium mineralization. These results will be coupled with previously obtained geochemical information and public domain data to plan geophysical surveys and define targets for a drilling program.
The Columbus Basin Project covers approximately 11,200 acres (4,000 hectares) in a region of known lithium-enriched brines. We acquired the land that comprises the project by staking claims and hold an undivided 100 percent interest in the project without any underlying royalty interests nor option/lease payments.
The project area is the site of several small-scale borate mines, the first which was brought into production in 1864. Subsequent discoveries resulted in the expansion of operations in the project area in 1871, but other larger sources of these minerals were discovered in Nevada and California, and the Columbus Basin operations ceased prior to 1900.
Some exploration for potash brines was undertaken in the general project area in the early 1900s, but there has not been any potash production from the area.
The Columbus Salt Marsh is a closed drainage basin that covers an area of approximately 370 square miles (960 square kilometers) with a geologic setting that is dominated by lake and basin-fill sediments that have been past sources of borate production. The basin is bounded on its south and east sides by Tertiary-age volcanic rocks, some of which are enriched in lithium and are considered to be potential source rocks for lithium brines.
The project area covers portions of two significant gravity lows, one of which was identified from a past geophysical survey during a geothermal energy exploration program in 2009. Gravity lows in sedimentary basins such as the Columbus Salt Marsh are often associated with areas of thicker sediment deposition and the development of multiple zones of favorable host rocks for lithium-enriched brines.
Such geophysical anomalies, in addition to their close proximity to potential lithium source rocks, nearby geothermal energy occurrences and the presence of evaporative processes found on the existing playa, reflect the major characteristics favorable for lithium brine development.