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Lithium Occurrences and Processing Facilities of Argentina, and Salars of the Lithium Triangle, Central South America

June 26, 2020

The "Li_Triangle_ARG_MRP_NMIC.gdb" geospatial database was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey for use in a geographic information system (GIS) to support mineral resource research and assessment of lithium resources in the Argentina portion of the central South American Lithium Triangle. The Lithium Triangle is host to significant amounts (nearly 60%) of the worlds known (identified) resources of lithium. Over 100 salars and lagunas, ranging in area from a few square kilometers (km2) to approximately 9,000 km2, are found within this region. The Lithium Triangle is approximately 400,000 km2 and encompasses about 150 internal drainage basins in northwestern Argentina, western Bolivia, northern Chile, and southern-most Peru. This inventory documents the geologic occurrence of lithium, including mineralogy, type of occurrence, and any quantitative data related to size and grade, from publicly available data. Datasets that summarize the distribution of known occurrences and their geologic setting are integral for geologically-based evaluations of undiscovered mineral resources. The distribution of known occurrences allows for the understanding of factors that control their distribution and degree of variation, which can facilitate forecasting of areas where similar undiscovered occurrences may be found. The database includes both brine (also known as salar) and pegmatite deposit-type occurrences, of which brine are the greatest in number and most important type found in the Lithium Triangle, as well as lithium processing facilities. Recorded are 124 lithium mineral occurrences and 10 processing facility sites. Spatial and descriptive data for 106 brine and 18 pegmatite occurrences are stored in the Argentina lithium geodatabase feature classes "Arg_Occurrences_MRP_NMIC ", and 10 facility sites are stored in the "Arg_Facilities_MRP_NMIC" feature class. In addition, 186 salars were digitized and are described in the "Salars_Li_Triangle_MRP_NMIC" feature class (salar outlines were derived using imagery from 2018-2019). Argentina is host to 86 of these, of which 42 have known lithium occurrences, while 44 do not have known occurrences. The centroids of the salar polygons are stored in the "Salar_Centroids_Li_Triangle_MRP_NMIC" point feature class. Since many of the salars have multiple companies extracting resources from them due to thier size, the centroid feature class will allow an analyst to represent and evaluate the salars as a single entity. In addition, over 140 references are stored in a geodatabase table "MRP_NMIC_Refs" that document the sources that were used to compile these data.

Publication Year 2020
Title Lithium Occurrences and Processing Facilities of Argentina, and Salars of the Lithium Triangle, Central South America
DOI 10.5066/P9RLUH4F
Authors Mark J Mihalasky, Deborah A Briggs, Michael J Baker (CTR), Brian Jaskula, Kevin Cheriyan, Sidney W Deloach-Overton
Product Type Data Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center