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FACT BRIEF

Does Nevada have the nation’s only fully operating lithium mine?

By Austin Tannenbaum on 03/14/2023

YES

As of March 2023, Nevada’s Silver Peak mine is the only lithium mine operating in the U.S.

The site is located in Esmeralda County and has been mined for lithium since the 1960s.

Silver Peak produces 5,000 metric tons of usable lithium per year — 1% of the world total — and plans to double production by 2025.

The U.S., which has the fourth largest lithium reserves in the world, used to be the largest producer of lithium before corporations decided to move production overseas, where labor is cheaper and environmental regulations are more relaxed.

The three biggest lithium producers are currently Australia (52% of world total), Chile (25% of world total) and China (13% of world total).

Rising demand for lithium to manufacture electric vehicle batteries has caused the U.S. to pursue additional domestic production sites, including the Thacker Pass mine in Humboldt County, Nevada, which began construction earlier this month after gaining federal court approval over the objections of tribes and environmental groups.

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