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Open-File Report 2013–1006

A Preliminary Deposit Model for Lithium Brines

By Dwight Bradley, LeeAnn Munk, Hillary Jochens, Scott Hynek, and Keith Labay

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (1.11 MB)Abstract

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.

First posted February 1, 2013

For additional information contact:
Director, Central Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Box 25046, Mail Stop 973
Denver, CO 80225

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Suggested citation:

Bradley, Dwight, Munk, LeeAnn, Jochens, Hillary, Hynek, Scott, and Labay, Keith, 2013, A preliminary deposit model for lithium brines: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2013–1006, 6 p.



Brief Description and Related Deposit Types

Examples of Li-Brine Systems and Their Tectonic Settings

Physiography and Climate

Size and Structure of Deposits

Geologic Assessment Guidelines

References Cited

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