Mining G.O.L.D. (Geothermal Opportunities Leveraged Through Data): Exploring Synergies Between the Geothermal and Mining Industries

Aaron Levine, Greg Rhodes, Allison Kvien

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


This report analyzes potential collaborations between the geothermal and locatable mineral industries (focused on the portion of the Basin and Range Province within Nevada, United States of America). The objectives of this study included analyzing: 1. The type and quality of data collected by the locatable mineral industry to determine feasibility for geothermal resource exploration; 2. The regulatory pathways and potential barriers that could prevent development of geothermal resources discovered via a mining claim (and vice versa) in the United States; 3. The historical development of geothermal resources discovered via mineral exploration data in the United States and illustrations of co-located mining and geothermal power projects; 4. The value propositions for both the locatable mineral and the geothermal industries to collaborate. This article concludes that many of the data collected by the mining industry as part of locatable mineral exploration (e.g., copper, gold, lithium) would also be useful for identifying and developing previously unknown geothermal resources (and in some notable cases, already have led to geothermal resource development). In addition, for minimal costs, the mining industry could catalogue these data and potentially monetize the data itself or use the data in the future to develop a geothermal project. Leveraging these locatable mineral data to develop geothermal resources and/or co-located minerals and geothermal resources would represent significant cost savings when compared to developing geothermal resources under a business-as-usual scenario as well as compared to current generating technologies (e.g., diesel-powered generators) employed at remote mining operations. Ultimately, leveraging mining industry data, knowledge, and expertise serves to effectively expand the geothermal exploration workforce, increase the rate of geothermal resource discovery, and potentially reduce geothermal electricity's levelized cost of energy (LCOE) by 23%-29%.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages39
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-81946


  • data
  • economics
  • exploration
  • geothermal
  • mining
  • regulatory


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