Wyo. takes time leasing 'potentially massive' lithium find

Posted: May 10, 2013

Written by

Joan Barron, Casper Star-Tribune/GW
Sweetwater County

Wyoming has put on hold all four lithium lease applications it received after discovering a vast and potentially lucrative lithium deposit in Sweetwater County last week.

The State Board of Land Commissioners will compose a plan for how to handle the leases, which are all from one company, because of the massive potential value of the lithium find, which is estimated at $500 billion, said Ryan Lance, director of the Office of State Lands and Investments.

State law allows the board to issue leases on a first-come, first-served basis or through an auction.

Lithium is a vital component of batteries and electronic devices. It is in high demand as nations move toward more environmentally friendly technologies. Wind, solar and smart-grid technologies all involve lithium-ion batteries, which are used to store excess energy for later use.

Initial analyses indicated that a 25-square-mile region may contain 228,000 tons of lithium.

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