Silver Peak, Nevada

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Silver Peak, Nevada
Albemarle Corporation (Formerly Chemetall Foote) Lithium Operation at Silver Peak
Albemarle Corporation (Formerly Chemetall Foote) Lithium Operation at Silver Peak
Silver Peak is located in Nevada
Silver Peak
Silver Peak
Location within the state of Nevada
Coordinates: 37°45′18″N 117°38′5″W / 37.75500°N 117.63472°W / 37.75500; -117.63472Coordinates: 37°45′18″N 117°38′5″W / 37.75500°N 117.63472°W / 37.75500; -117.63472[1]
CountryUnited States
 • Total0.99 sq mi (2.56 km2)
 • Land0.99 sq mi (2.56 km2)
 • Water0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation4,321 ft (1,317 m)
 • Total142
 • Density109/sq mi (41.9/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
FIPS code32-67000
GNIS feature ID845661

Silver Peak (also Silverpeak) is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Esmeralda County, Nevada, United States. It lies along State Route 265, 20 miles (32 km) south of U.S. Route 6 and 30 miles (48 km) west of Goldfield, the county seat of Esmeralda County.[3] It has a post office, with the ZIP code of 89047.[4] The population of Silver Peak was 142 as of 2019.[2]


Silver Peak is one of the oldest mining communities in Nevada. It was founded near a well in 1864,[5] two years after the founding of surrounding Esmeralda County, and one year after silver was discovered nearby and mining began.[6] A 10 stamp mill was built in 1865, and a 20 stamp mill by 1867. The Silver Peak Railroad was built by the Pittsburgh Silver Peak Gold Mining Company after it bought a group of mining properties in 1906 and established a 100 stamp mill at Blair, Nevada, in 1907. Blair's mill closed in 1915, and Blair was a ghost town by 1920.[7] Silver Peak maintained a population, however, even though it burned in 1948.[8]

In 1939, boxer Max Baer defeated "Big Ed" Murphy of Silver Peak in a one round fight at Silver Peak.[9]


Silver Peak lies near a dry lake bed that is rich in lithium and other minerals.[10]

Initially salt was mined in the area. In 1906, Spurr reported that salt was mined for local use by digging a hole a foot or two deep until water was reached and then waiting until the water evaporated. It was claimed that the salt produced in this manner was 99% pure.[11]

During World War II, Clayton Marsh was explored for strategic minerals including potash and American Potash Corp. leased the marsh. In the 1950s, Leprechaun Mining (Clyde Kegel) acquired the leases. He determined that in addition to potassium, lithium was also present. Leprechaun Mining reached an agreement with Foote Minerals in 1964 and Foote reconfigured the silver mill and started production of lithium in 1967. In 1988, Cyprus Minerals acquired Foote and became Cyprus Foot Minerals. In 1998, Chemetall acquired the operation - the new company was called Chemetall Foote Corp. In 2004, Rockwood Holdings acquired the operation.[12] In 2010, the mine was expanded to double the capacity of its lithium carbonate production. The project was funded in part by a $28.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to expand and upgrade the production of lithium materials for advanced transportation batteries.[13] In 2014, the Albemarle Corporation purchased Rockwood for $6.2 Billion.

As of October 2021, the Albemarle Corporation Lithium Operation at Silver Peak[14] employs around 100 people extracting heavy brine and is currently the only operating source of lithium in the United States,[15] and supplying 1% of the world's output.[16]

In popular culture

The town was featured on a show called "Welcome To Murdertown" which revolves around the disappearance and murder of Charlie Kinkle. [17]

During California's 1999 electric power crisis in the first major act of the power crisis causing an outage on March 25, 1999, Enron energy traders allegedly rerouted 2,900MW (megawatts) of electricity destined for California to this small Nevada community. This caused a large shortage on the California power grid because the largest power feeder (intertie) from this area to California had a capacity of 15MW (about 0.5% of the required wheeling capacity).[18]


  1. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Silver Peak
  2. ^ a b "Census - Geography Profile". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
  3. ^ Rand McNally. The Road Atlas '08. Chicago: Rand McNally, 2008, p. 64.
  4. ^ Zip Code Lookup
  5. ^ Esmeralda County's page on Silver Peak Archived 2011-03-09 at the Library of Congress Web Archives
  6. ^ Silver Peak page at
  7. ^ Blair page at
  8. ^ "Silver Peak". Nevada State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved April 3, 2020. State Historical Marker No. 155.
  9. ^ Shamberger, Hugh A. (1976). The Story of Silver Peak, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Nevada Historical Press. pp. 111 pages. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  10. ^ Robinson, Paul T. (1972). "Petrology of the Potassic Silver Peak Volcanic Center, Western Nevada". Geological Society of America Bulletin. 83 (6): 1693. Bibcode:1972GSAB...83.1693R. doi:10.1130/0016-7606(1972)83[1693:POTPSP]2.0.CO;2. ISSN 0016-7606.
  11. ^ Spurr, Josiah Edward (1906). Ore Deposits of the Silver Peak Quadrangle, Nevada (Report). U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 159. hdl:2027/mdp.39015080076709. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  12. ^ Kogel, Jessica Elzea (2006). Industrial Minerals & Rocks: Commodities, Markets, and Uses. p. 605. ISBN 9780873352338. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  13. ^ "Expansion of Chemetall Foote lithium operation in Nevada". July 12, 2010. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011.
  14. ^ "Global Supplier of Specialty Chemicals, Social and Environmental Issues, Albemarle". Albemarle Corporation. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  15. ^ "Mineral Commodity Summaries" (PDF). United States Geological Survey. February 2019. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  16. ^ Dentzer, Bill (4 October 2021). "Nevada's next boom: Demand poised to spur Silver State's lithium production". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Archived from the original on 4 October 2021.
  17. ^ "Welcome to Murdertown | Watch Full Episodes & More!". Investigation Discovery. Retrieved 2020-10-08.
  18. ^ Ernst ten Heuvelhof (2009). Strategic Behaviour in Network Industries: A Multidisciplinary Approach. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. ISBN 978-1-84720-610-7.

Further reading

External links