Reno-based American Battery Technology Company (ABTC) — which is currently erecting a lithium-ion battery recycling plant in Fernley — is growing its extraction efforts in central Nevada. ABTC announced Dec. 21 it’s staked 122 lode mining claims, in addition to its recently secured 305 claims, on land administered by the Bureau of Land Management in Little Smokey Valley near Tonopah. Now being referred to as ABTC’s Tonopah Flats Lithium Exploration Project, “the newly staked 122 lode claims adds 2,440 acres of claims, bringing the company’s total lode claims under control in this location to 427 claims encompassing 8,540 acres,” according to a Dec. 21 press release. “The acquisition of these additional claims allows us even greater amounts of material resources to characterize and test, and even greater opportunity to scale-up commercial operations of our low environmental impact and low-cost manufacturing process at this domestic lithium resource,” ABTC CEO Ryan Melsert said in a statement.
The acquisition comes after the company on Dec. 10 announced initial results of surface samples of the original 305 claims. “Given the initial promising results combined with the confirmed geological representative characteristics and surface expressions of adjacent claims, ABTC took the opportunity to expand its area of influence next to the original 305 claims,” according to the company. As part of expanding exploration efforts, ABTC is conducting geological mapping, sampling, geochemical analysis and proprietary extraction trials “to characterize these resources and to quantify the performance of its internally developed lithium extraction and manufacturing operations,” according to the release. The acquisition also comes a few weeks after the City of Fernley approved ABTC’s permit for construction of the $30 million lithium plant on a 12.5-acre plot of land off Logan Lane. According to past reports, the project will consist of three building areas totaling 100,000 square feet: a battery recycling production building, an office with laboratories, and a finished goods warehouse. Carson City-based Miles Construction is lead contractor on the project. In addition to short-term construction jobs, ABTC pledges to create 50 new jobs within the plant’s first three years, with positions ranging from equipment operators to R&D chemists to company executives. The average wage will be around $45 an hour.