The U.S. Bureau of Land Management recently released a draft environmental assessment (EA) on a plan by Rockwood Lithium Inc. to construct, operate, and maintain the Silver Peak Area Geothermal Exploration Project in Esmeralda County, Nev.
The purpose of the project is to determine subsurface temperatures, confirm the existence of geothermal resources, and confirm the existence of a commercial geothermal reservoir at the proposed well sites within a federal geothermal lease. An Operations Plan for the construction, operation, and maintenance of these exploration wells was submitted to the BLM Tonopah Field Office in July 2011 and finalized in November 2011.
“Geothermal drilling permits would be submitted for the drilling of the exploration wells,” said the draft EA. “Should this exploration project encounter and prove that a suitable geothermal resource is present, Rockwood would pursue development of the resource with the intent of providing electrical power for their adjacent lithium processing facilities. Given the uncertainties associated with geothermal exploration and the fact that most geothermal exploration on BLM land does not lead to the identification of geothermal resources that prove viable at a commercial scale, future development of the resource is not considered reasonably foreseeable for the purposes of compliance with the [National Environmental Policy Act.]”