The Paiute and Shoshone tribes were the first to settle in the Fish Lake Valley, so named for the fossils found in the area. The Fish Lake Valley was settled in 1866 when the Palmetto Mining District was discovered. In the 1870’s borax was being extracted from the area. The largest town in the area is Dyer, located in the Fish Lake Valley. The hills and mountains in the area are host to a number of old mining camps, as well as stagecoach and pony express trails. The west side of Fish Lake Valley playa has evidence of abandoned borax workings.

Silver Peak, 18 miles to the southwest is also one of the oldest mining communities in Nevada. It was founded near a well in 1864, two years after the founding of surrounding Esmeralda County, and one year after silver was discovered nearby and mining initiated.  Silver mining eventually petered out in the area. In 1966 production of lithium from brines in Clayton Valley began.  The operation, which is active today, became the largest lithium producing mine and the only mine that produces lithium from brines in the United States.

In the 1980’s US Borax surface sampled and drilled a basin of lithium and boron-rich sediments over a 4 mile by 2 ½ mile area about 2 miles east of the Fish Lake Valley property. They completed 46 drill holes totaling about 56,000 ft.  US Borax also drilled 12 holes at a property a few miles south of the initial drilling where higher lithium values were noted.  Global Geoscience announced the acquisition of Rhyolite Ridge in 2017.

Lithium is now in worldwide demand for a number of products including motive power batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) and stationary batteries for residential and commercial electric power management.  The initial phase of Tesla’s Gigafactory 1, located near Clark, Nevada east of Reno began production in 2016 and has an enormous demand for battery-grade lithium compounds.  Gigafactory 1 is working with the Silver Peak mine, 18 miles east of Fish Lake Valley to supply a portion of the battery grade lithium for manufacturing.

Out of the 109 mining jurisdictions included in the Fraser Institute’s Policy Perceptions Index, Nevada currently sits in sixth place, which indicates a generally mining-friendly environment and which suggests that exposure to changing political and environmental whims are somewhat mitigated.


Fish Lake Valley is between 3 to 5 miles wide in the south and extends north for about 50 miles where the northern end broadens to 12 miles. In the north, the basin bifurcates into western and eastern arms separated by low hills (Volcanic Hills). The elevation of the narrow basin floor decreases from south to north from about 5200 to 4800 ft, over a distance of about 30 miles. In the north, the basin is divided by the Volcanic Hills, which has elevations of around 5400 ft, the western depression has elevations of about 5100 ft  whereas the eastern arm has elevations of around 4800 ft. Fish Lake Valley is surrounded by mountains and this provides much of the abundant run-off into the watershed. In the west, the valley is bounded by the Horse Thief Hills and the White Mountains. The Horse Thief Hills form the southwestern flank of the valley and are a subdued ridge with an elevation of about 5600 ft. In the White Mountains, elevations climb from about 6500 ft in the south to as much as 13,000 ft in the north over a distance of 35 miles. The northern White Mountains merge with an east-west belt of hills about 25 miles long that forms the northern part of the Volcanic Hills and northwestern part of the Silver Peak Range.  These hills are the northern boundary of Fish Lake Valley and have a relatively constant elevation of 6500 ft. The east-west trending hills are locally breached by narrow northerly-trending valleys with elevations of about 4700 ft.

Along the eastern flank of Fish Lake Valley is the Silver Peak Range in the north and the Sylvania Mountains in the south. North to south, the Silver Peak Range rises from about 6200 ft in 9200 ft over a distance of 19 miles and then decreases to 5900 ft over a distance of 16 miles. To the south, the Sylvania Mountains rise to 7900 ft, forming the southeastern flank of the valley.

General Geology

Large parts of the property are covered by thin surficial deposits of sand and alluvium, and exposed bedrock is dominated by Tertiary rhyolitic tuffs and recent sediments. The rhyolitic tuffs of the Candelaria Tuff Sequence (Oligocene) and similar rocks are the primary source of lithium for several of the basins of the Esmeralda Lithium District. They are permeable and contain high contents of unstable volcanic glass, from which lithium, boron and other elements are easily leached by rainwater, circulating groundwater, and geothermal fluids. Several separate cycles of erosion of the tuffs have formed nearby deposits of claystone and other volcanic sediments, where lithium has been adsorbed onto clay minerals, or deposited as evaporite minerals in specific beds. This essentially fixes the lithium into place within these sediments, which may be buried by alluvium, or downthrown by faulting, and concealed. Nearby in the District, this setting hosts drilled resources of millions of tons of lithium, and locally greater amounts of borate, in sedimentary cycles of two ages.


The geological setting at Clayton Valley and Fish Lake Valley is similar to the salars of Chile, Bolivia, & Peru with the valleys being surrounded by mountains, trapping water entering the basin from flowing out of the basin. The only way water can escape is through evaporation, which causes the minerals to concentrate.

Source: Global Geoscience

Fault Geometry

Exploration for and development of lithium brine in Fish Lake Valley requires a comprehensive understanding of the geometry of the fault-bounded, closed basins together with characterization of the lithology and spatial variability of the sedimentary-volcanic fill that form the reservoir. American Lithium’s technical advisor, Dr. John Oldow, PhD of the University of Texas at Dallas, has spent nearly a decade of geologic and geophysical investigation of the geometry and kinematic evolution of the Fish Lake Valley basin and bounding fault systems. Much of that work focused on the three-dimensional geometry of the basins underlying northern Fish Lake Valley, the stratigraphy of the basin fill, and the geometry and history of displacement of the fault array that bounds and dissects the basin.

TECTONICS: Regional tectonic map showing major fault systems in the southwestern Great Basin. Complex array of faults in the Silver Peak – Lone Mountain region east of the northern end of the DVFLV fault zone from mapping during ongoing NSF funded research project (Oldow, unpublished). CVF, Clayton Valley fault; DVF, Death Valley fault; DSF, Deep Springs fault; DMF, Dry Mountain fault; EIF, Eastern Inyo fault; Fish Lake Valley fault; FCF, Furnace Creek fault; GF, Garlock fault; HMF, Hunter Mountain fault; MDF, Mount Dunfee fault; OWF, Oriental Wash fault; OVF, Owens Valley fault; PMF, Palmetto Mountain fault; PVF, Panamint Valley fault; PCF, Paymaster Canyon fault; SMF, Sylvania Mountain fault; SRV, Saline Range fault; SNF, Sierra Nevada fault; SLF, State Line fault; TPF, Towne Pass fault; WWF, Waucoba Wash fault; WMF, White Mountain fault. CCRB, Cucomungo Canyon Restraining Bend.

RELIEF MAP: Shaded relief map of the Fish Lake Valley region illustrating major physiographic provinces and fault zones. BSV, Big Smokey Valley; CSM, Columbus Salt March; DSV, Deep Springs Valley; EV, Eureka Valley; HTH, Horse Thief Hills; FLV, Fish Lake Valley; LCR, Last Chance Range; NCV, Northern Clayton Valley; OV, Owens Valley; SM, Sylvania Mountains; SPR, Silver Peak Range; QV, Queen Valley ;VH, Volcanic Hills; WM, White Mountains.

Fault geometry is critical in the development of lithium brine basins in that the structures may provide vertical conduits for fluid flow and may also represent aquitards controlling lateral flow in a segmented basin system.

The Fish Lake Valley basin is bounded on the west by and formed in response to displacement along the northern segment of the Death Valley – Furnace Creek – Fish Lake Valley (DV-FC-FLV) fault system. The DV-FC-FLV fault system stretches northwesterly for over 200 miles from the Mojave Desert at the southern end of Death Valley, California to Fish Lake Valley. The fault is one of the most tectonically active structures in the western Great Basin

Dr. John Oldow, Ph.D., Technical Consultant to American Lithium and Director of the Ellison Miles Center for Geological Field Studies at the University of Texas has developed a geological model of the Company’s Fish Lake Valley project.

Dr. Oldow’s work includes geologic mapping and the application of structural and stratigraphic analysis, along with field geophysics, GPS mapping and terrestrial laser scanning to advance understanding of regional tectonics. The model Dr. Oldow has created details stratigraphic descriptions of the basin reservoir and provides an understanding of where these structures exist within the basin.  This extensive research is a major contributor to the strategy behind the Company’s drilling & exploration program.

The deep structural depressions beneath northern Fish Lake Valley reflect the intersection and superposition of two basin orientations. The west-northwest trending basin formed during an early history of north-south crustal stretching starting at about 23 Ma and continuing to about 15 Ma when a younger period of northwest-southeast stretching started. The younger period of stretching developed the north-northeast trending basins that are active today. The basin fills of both trends contribute to explain negative gravity anomalies observed above the structural depressions.

A grid of geologic sections, based on surface observations and well data, were constructed using three-dimensional gravity-depth inversion results as a preliminary constraint on the basin geometries. A best-fit solution for all geologic sections was used to estimate the internal distribution of stratigraphic units within each geologic section. Depth and thickness estimates of the upper basin deposits (exploration target) were extracted from the model grid and presented as a structural contour map.

Basin model

Location of geologic cross sections in northern Fish Lake Valley. Click a cross section letter to see more details:

Section A Section B Section C Section D Section E Section F Section G Section H Section I

Section A crossing the northern Volcanic Hills, northern Fish Lake Valley, and western Silver Peak Range showing the correspondence between observed and calculated gravity.
Section B crossing the central Volcanic Hills, northern basin in Fish Lake Valley, and the western Silver Peak Range showing the correspondence between observed and calculated gravity.
Section C crossing the southern Volcanic Hills, the central segment of northern Fish Lake Valley, and the western Silver Peak Range showing the correspondence between observed and calculated gravity.
Section D crossing the southern segment of northern Fish Lake Valley and the western Silver Peak Range showing correspondence between observed and calculated gravity.
Section E crossing the southern segment of northern Fish Lake Valley and the western Silver Peak Range showing correspondence between observed and calculated gravity.
Section F crossing the western Volcanic Hills and the southern segment of northern Fish Lake Valley showing correspondence between observed and calculated gravity.
Section G crossing the central Volcanic Hills and southern segment of the northern Fish Lake Valley showing the correspondence between observed and calculated gravity.
Section H crossing northern Fish Lake Valley and the western Silver Peak Range showing the correspondence between observed and calculated gravity.
Section I crossing through the western Silver Peak Range showing the correspondence between observed and calculated gravity.


Brines tested to date contain anomalous concentrations of

  • Lithium ranging from 0.81 mg/L to 150 mg/L
  • Boron ranging from <1 mg/L to 2670 mg/L
  • Potassium ranging from 30 to 13300 mg/L, and
  • Magnesium ranging from 0.116 mg/L to 41.5 mg/L


Fish Lake Valley is ideally located approximately 20 miles from US Route 6, a major transportation hub. Construction and supply access is excellent with all-weather gravel roads leading to the property from paved and well-maintained Highways 264, 265 and 266 and maintained gravel roads thoughout the Playa. Power is available approximately 9 miles from the property, or eventually from development of local geothermal resources that can be utilized for power generation. The village of Dyer is approximately 12 miles to the south, and the town of Tonopah Nevada is approximately 46 miles to the East. The valley itself has ample potable water at shallow to medium depth across much of the basin area. Nevada is a mining-friendly jurisdiction, and the Company has all drilling and reclamation permits in place.


Our current Work Plan builds on recently completed efforts, including:

  • Drilled and sampled four exploratory holes up to 500’ using sonic drilling techniques at opposite ends (N-S) of property (2016).
  • Completed initial geophysical basin study (2017).
  • Collected 214 near-surface samples from the Fish Lake Valley North area (2016)
  • 55 near-surface samples collected from the Fish Lake Valley Central North Playa averaged 150mg/L and ranged from 100 – 300mg/L (2016).

Upcoming programs include:

  • Detailed geologic mapping, collection and analysis of surface samples of the Tertiary claystone and related deposits on the west, north and east sides of the North Playa (two exploration geologist team underway as of Q2 2018)
  • Phase 2 basin model (analysis underway as of Q1 2018)
  • Detailed topographic mapping using photogrammetric or LiDAR techniques (Q3 2018)
  • Drilling of 10-20 medium depth (100-300 feet) borings to further identify the extent of lithium bearing Tertiary deposits (Q3 2018)
  • Deep drilling to 1800 feet to evaluate extent of lithium bearing brines, claystones and related deposits; first target is next to the 500 foot deep 2016 well 13A, which had a temperature and mineralization spike near the bottom (Q3 2018)
  • Identify additional deep drill locations for evaluating extent and character of lithium brines (Q4 2018)
  • Grid sample existing and newly acquired claims for lithium claystone (Q3 2018)
  • Identify additional shallow drill sites for lithium claystones (Q3 2018)

REFERENCE: The technical information within this project description, has been reviewed and approved by Michael Collins, P.Geo, a qualified person under National Instrument 43-101.