|Waste salt, foreground, is shown by an evaporation pond|
during a tour of the Silver Peak lithium mine near Tonopah, Nev.
Buoyed by Nevada’s enormous potential reserve of lithium and the opening of Tesla’s Gigafactory nearly 200 miles to the north, 25 mining companies and investor-backed speculators have staked more than 13,000 placer claims, covering almost the entirety of the Clayton Valley and 18 hydrographic basins.
Meanwhile, the price for a ton of lithium carbonate has more than tripled since 2015. According to Deutsche Bank, global demand for lithium carbonate in the next decade could double to 534,000 tons a year. Analysts predict that lithium carbonate could become a $1.7 billion market by 2019.