A Canadian-funded mining company, Nevada Energy Metals, LLC, has laid claim to 4,000 acres of land in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, the yearly site for the 68,000-person Burning Man event. The mining claims were made after a soil sample was found to have supplies of Lithium, a mineral commonly used for batteries and anti-anxiety medication. The precise location of the claims lies south of the Black Rock-High Rock Emigration Trails National Conservation Area.

Despite anyone being allowed to make a mining claim, breaking ground requires fees, permits and a public process. As of this week, Mark Hall, assistant field manager for the BLM’s Black Rock Field Office, said they have yet to move forward with the mining company’s request.

“​Right now we have not received a notice to work their claims nor have we received a plan of operations.”

Nevada has received more than 10,500 Lithium claims from about 25 companies over the past two years after Tesla announced it would be building its Gigafactory in Sparks, which is expected to be the largest Lithium-ion battery factory by 2018.

Although no current plans to mine on Black Rock Desert exist, the companies making claims can hold onto them into a sharp increase in demand for Lithium arises. Currently, the area is already experiencing mining operations for gold and opal.


Source: RGJ | Image: Reuters via Shannon Stapleton