Bureau of Land Management and NASA withdraw nearly 23,000 acres in Railroad Valley, NV from new
entry and use for 20 years
Railroad Valley Super-Brine Complex contains over 25 million tons of recoverable lithium (LCE), tripling
the United States’ supply of lithium
The brine complex also includes high concentrations of sodium carbonate and strategically critical
minerals, such as boron, tungsten, molybdenum, and rare earth elements
CARSON CITY, Nev., May 2, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — 3 Proton Lithium Inc. (3PL), a privately-held mining development corporation, today responded to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM)’s withdrawal of 22,684 acres from public use in Railroad Valley, Nevada for twenty years – threatening to impact the company’s ability to fully develop the Railroad Valley Super-Brine Complex, one of the world’s largest deposits of critical minerals.
“We’re surprised and incredibly disappointed in the federal government’s decision to ignore 3PL’s ongoing development of one of the largest lithium resources in the world, right here in the United States,” said Vince Ramirez, CEO of 3PL. “The significance of this project is hard to overstate, tripling the United States lithium resources overnight. Railroad Valley is home to one of the world’s largest deposits of critical minerals and could single handedly secure a ‘Made in America’ supply chain, ending our over- reliance on adversarial nations and bolstering our national and economic security. The mine and NASA could easily co-exist, but they have refused to engage in discussions, let alone find a path forward that would serve the interests of the federal government, the private sector, and national security. 3PL will continue to move through the permitting process and challenge this attempt to hamper our project and defend our valid existing mineral rights.”
In its notice in the Federal Register, the BLM approved an April 2021 request by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to withdraw 22,684 acres in Railroad Valley from public use for 20 years to calibrate satellite activity with ground based light reflection studies. About one-half of NASA’s acreage withdrawn is within 3PL’s current mining claims. The order states, “The purpose of the withdrawal and reservation is to maintain the physical integrity of the surface and subsurface environment to ensure NASA satellite calibration activities are not invalidated or otherwise adversely affected.”
The land withdrawal increases the difficulty for the company to continue to explore and develop its mining claims, though it does not foreclose the opportunity to successfully develop the Railroad Valley Super-Brine Complex.
However, NASA has previously stated that it requires only a fraction of the segregated acreage to conduct calibration activities. Because 3PL is developing a safe and environmentally responsible project that will not involve evaporation ponds, open pit mining, or acid leach operations planned by other projects, the company is confident that it will not degrade the playa or disturb the surface in any way
that would alter NASA’s ability to conduct its calibration activities. Additionally, there have been hundreds of wells drilled in Railroad Valley, demonstrating that NASA has been able to conduct its calibration while coexisting with low-impact, third party subsurface activity similar to the 3PL project.
The withdrawal significantly impacts 3PL’s 36,000 acres in Nye County, which represents the largest claim block in Nevada. 3PL’s geologic team has detailed a discovery of layered salt deposits that are 2,000 feet thick and contain an estimated 23 billion barrels of recoverable brine. The mineral and resource composition of the find is unparalleled in that it contains high concentrations of rare earth elements and critical minerals, including high purity boron and over 25 million tons of recoverable lithium – one of the largest lithium deposits in the world and the largest known deposit in North America.
A recently published U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report has reported identified lithium resources in the world to be 98 million tons, with 12 million of those being located in the United States. 3PL’s discovery has the potential to triple the United States’ lithium resources.
In March of this year, 3PL submitted a Physical Exposure of a Locatable Mineral Memorandum Report (PEMR) to the Bureau of Land Management that details the resource and validates its existence. This PEMR was independently written by a former Chief Mineral Examiner of the BLM. The conclusion of the report is summarized as follows:
“3PL’s analyses of new and historic drill cuttings was conducted in a credible manner and show commercial grades of lithium….Physical exposures of a locatable mineral deposit are present affecting 628 of the 629 subject claims as of the April 29, 2021, segregation date. Based on the physical exposures, the analysis results, the geophysical correlations with them, and the brine- saturated hydrologic nature of the enclosed basin, all the placer claims involved in the NASA segregated area are mineral in character.”
3PL’s findings are substantiated by an extensive set of data compiled from drilling, assays, geophysics, and subsurface correlations. The company has drilled three wells to the basalt strata at 2,500 feet, during which it obtained significant core samples and revealed numerous pay zones totaling over 2,000 feet.
3PL is working in collaboration with a number of other mining companies, in addition to the Nevada Mining Association, the Nye County Board of Commissioners, and others to oppose the federal government’s withdrawal of public land from mining activity.
ABOUT 3 PROTON LITHIUM INC.
3 Proton Lithium, Inc. is a privately held mining development corporation founded in 2017 and based in Carson City, Nevada. 3PL is engaged in the exploration and development of lithium brine deposits within the Great Basin. The corporation specifically targets lithium and other strategic minerals.