Australian company begins drilling for lithium in Oregon


An abandoned Google Maps pin shows the approximate location of a large lithium project in southeast Oregon.

Google Maps / Screenshot

An Australian company has started drilling at a site in southeast Oregon that could potentially host a large lithium mine.

Jindalee Resources Ltd., a Perth-based mining exploration company, announced earlier this week that it was working to determine the extent of a lithium deposit in southern Malheur County.

The company said in a statement that the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) had approved the drilling of 39 holes to support Jindalee’s estimate of how much lithium exists at the site. Jindalee said the deposit west of the Oregon-Nevada border town of McDermitt is among the largest lithium deposits in the country.

Several requests for comment from Jindalee and DOGAMI were not returned.

In an interview with financial media Proactive this spring, Jindalee executive director Lindsay Dudfield called the McDermitt Lithium project an “absolute monster.”

Lithium is an extremely light metal considered essential to a global transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies. The element is fundamental for lithium-ion batteries used to power electric vehicles and store energy generated by elements such as wind and solar, among other uses.

The Biden administration has made it clear that it wants to dramatically increase the amount of lithium sourced and processed in the United States. Jindalee says the McDermitt Lithium Project has the potential to do both.

“The main results of the [scoping] The study highlighted the potential of the project to support a viable stand-alone lithium mining and processing operation and reinforced the importance of McDermitt as a potential long-term source of future supply for the US industry. rapidly growing battery manufacturing business, ”the company statement said.

The project is located on the northern edge of the McDermitt Caldera, which formed as a result of a massive eruption over 16 million years ago. Sediments rich in lithium were found near the perimeter of the caldera.

A lithium mine project on the Nevada side of the caldera has sparked controversy for its potential ecological damage, the desecration of a historic massacre site, ranching disturbances and more.


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