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Lithium Test Well Blowout on Colorado River Tributary

Anson Resources, a company vying to mine lithium from deep brines in the Colorado River Basin, had a major test well failure this week.

On March 8, reports emerged from Green River, Utah, of a test well failure and controlled flows of groundwater heading toward the eponymous river, which flows just hundreds of feet from the mining site.

The event affirms doubts about the company’s ability to tap deep lithium brines near the Green River in the Paradox Formation, demonstrating grave risks to communities like the City of Green River and the ecology of a precious Colorado River tributary.

News reports said the company hit high-pressure pockets of gas, which exists at depths more than 4,000 feet in the Paradox Formation.

The Australian company –– via its subsidiaries A1 Lithium and Blackstone Minerals –– has been telling regulators that it can use Direct Lithium Extraction technology to safely mine the prized element in brines up to 10,000 feet deep in multiple locations near the banks of the Green River and the Colorado River near Canyonlands National Park.

Great Basin Water Network, along with its partner Living Rivers and local community members, have implored regulators that the geology is untenable and the risks to water supplies too high.

“We hate to say, ‘I told you so,’” said Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network. “There are so many red flags that are flagrantly waving with this project. This foreign company cannot be trusted to steward the Green River and the Colorado River. Utah regulators must deny all the remaining water rights applications and drilling permits while revoking the temporary, exploratory permits. We must send this foreign company packing from the Colorado River Basin.”

“Anson has been desperate to pull the wool over the eyes of regulators,” said John Weisheit, Conservation Director of Living Rivers-Colorado Riverkeeper. “It’s amateur hour right now. Anson just wants to create buzz to help bring value to its shareholders and stack permits. Regulators must stop this project once and for all.”

Anson is applying for billions of gallons of water in the Colorado River Basin to access lithium. Anson wants to go deeper than 9,000 feet to access lithium brine zones, drilling through many layers of sedimentary rock, shale, and limestone before hitting salt layers that are inter-bedded with clastic zones that are over-pressured, which is why there are well failures like what we’ve now seen.

Anson claims that its technology will prevent major consumptive uses of water, but the company refuses to share its proprietary information and hydrologic modeling with the public. The company claims that it won’t harm freshwater sources connected with the Colorado River Basin. The well failure demonstrates the futility in Anson’s claims.

For More information Contact:

Kyle Roerink
Executive Director
Great Basin Water Network

John Weisheit
Conservation Director
Living Rivers-Colorado Riverkeeper


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