Lithium discovered in US volcano, possibly world’s largest deposit

A recently discovered lithium deposit on the border of Nevada and Oregon, USA, could be among the largest in the world and has potentially huge implications for the transition to electric vehicles.

Volcanologists and geologists from Lithium Americas Corporation, GNS Science, and Oregon State University reported their results in a paper for Scientific published on August 31st.

It is estimated that between 20 and 40 million tonnes of lithium metal are located in a volcanic crater, the McDermitt Caldera, which was formed about 16 million years ago.

This is significantly larger than the lithium deposits underneath a Bolivian Uyuni salt flat that was once considered the largest deposit in the world.

“If you believe their rough estimates, this is a very, very significant lithium deposit,” said Anouk Borst, a geologist at the University of Leuven and the Royal Museum of Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium, according to Fox Business. “It could change the dynamics of lithium globally, in terms of price, security of supply, and geopolitics.” emphasized the European expert.

New in-situ analyses show that an unusual clay, consisting of the mineral illite, The volcano crater contains between 1.3% and 2.4% lithium. This is almost twice the lithium contained in the main lithium-bearing clay mineral magnesium smectite, which is more common than illite.

The experts interviewed do not have a clear opinion about what impact the discovery will have on the global market and in particular on the global market Chile’s national lithium strategy.

Juan Carlos Guajardo, CEO of Plusmining, stated: “Although this announcement indeed points to a significant discovery of global scale and receives serious support as it was published in a high-profile journal, “The study is still hypothetical, although with positive perspectives.”

And even though it was created by geologists, there is still little drilling information, he pointed out. “It’s a deposit that would be so exploitative of clays Recovery technology will be an issue at some point. And obtaining the permits will take several years,” he detailed.

“The extraction process is complex,” said Daniel Jiménez, founding partner of consulting firm iLiMarkets. “There are probably a lot of projects most attractive in Brazil, Africa, and not to mention Argentina and Australia”, he explained.