Albemarle Corporation – Silver Peak, Nevada
The only lithium mine in production in North America is in Silver Peak, Nevada, and is owned and operated by the Albemarle Corporation, based in North Carolina, USA. Albermarle is considered an industry leader in lithium and operates in several countries. Albermarle is one of four global mining conglomerates that control most of the world’s lithium supply.
Silver was discovered at the Silver Peak mine in 1864. During World War II the area was explored for other minerals and the American Potash Corporation leased the Clayton Marsh. In the 1950s Leprechaun Mining picked up the leases and determined that lithium was present. In 1964 Leprechaun Mining reached an agreement with Foote Minerals to have Foots reconfigure the silver mill and started lithium production in 1967.
In 1988 Cyprus Minerals acquired the Foote operation and became Cyprus Foote Minerals. In 1998 Chemetall acquired the operation and the name was changed to Chemetall Foote Corporation. Then in 2004 Rockwood Holdings acquired the lithium operation. In 2010 a project funded in part by a $28.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy doubled the lithium production. Albemarle Corporation purchased Rockwood Holdings for $6.2 billion in 2014.
Aug. 8, 2019, Mining industry news reported that Albemarle is delaying plans to build additional processing capacity due to an oversupply of lithium. The decision would reduce Albemarle’s capital expenditure by $1.5 billion over the next five years and the company would become cash flow positive in 2021. The company operates two world-class lithium operations with the one in Silver Peak, Nevada, and the other in Salar de Atacama, Chile.
Feb. 19, 2020, Reuters reported that Albemarle had a lower than expected quarterly profit due to lithium companies producing more than the market currently needs.
Photo Credits: Source 01
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