Silver Peak, Nevada

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Silver Peak, Nevada
Census-designated place
Chemetall Foote Lithium Operation at Silver Peak
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
Country United States
State Nevada
County Esmeralda
 • Total 0.99 sq mi (2.56 km2)
 • Land 0.99 sq mi (2.56 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 4,321 ft (1,317 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 107
 • Density 109/sq mi (41.9/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 89047
FIPS code 32-67000
GNIS feature ID 845661

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.[1] Its elevation is 4,321 feet (1,317 m).[2] Although it is unincorporated, it has a post office, with the ZIP code of 89047.[3] The population of Silver Peak was 107 as of 2010.[4]


Silver Peak lies near a dry lake bed that is rich in lithium and other minerals.[5] The Chemetall Foote Lithium Operation in Clayton Valley is currently the only operating source of lithium in the United States. The mine is being expanded to double the capacity of its lithium carbonate production. The project is 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.[6]

The community gained some fame 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).[7]

News accounts claim this single action created an estimated $7 million of revenue for Enron. The company was fined $25,000 for their action, suggesting to some that this was a viable way for the firm to make money.


Silver Peak is one of the oldest mining communities in Nevada. It was founded near a well in 1864,[8] two years after the founding of surrounding Esmeralda County, and one year after silver was discovered nearby and mining began.[9] 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.[10] Silver Peak maintained a population, however, even though it burned in 1948. It began to thrive again when Foote Mineral Company began extracting lithium from below the floor of Clayton Valley in 1966.