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A preliminary deposit model for lithium brines

February 1, 2013

This report is part of an effort by the U.S. Geological Survey to update existing mineral deposit models and to develop new ones. The global transition away from hydrocarbons toward energy alternatives increases demand for many scarce metals. Among these is lithium, a key component of lithium-ion batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles. Lithium brine deposits account for about three-fourths of the world’s lithium production. Updating an earlier deposit model, we emphasize geologic information that might directly or indirectly help in exploration for lithium brine deposits, or for assessing regions for mineral resource potential. Special attention is given to the best-known deposit in the world—Clayton Valley, Nevada, and to the giant Salar de Atacama, Chile.

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