Companies Want Sweetwater Lithium

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The discovery of lithium in Sweetwater County has already attracted four lithium lease applications.

But Ryan Lance of the Office of State Lands and Investments says the applications are on hold for now while state officials develop a strategy on how to handle mining of the new resource.

Lance says the State Board of Land Commissioners is taking its time deciding how to handle the applications because of the enormous potential value of the lithium find - estimated at up to $500 billion.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that the state board includes Gov. Matt Mead and the other four elected state officials.

The board's options include issuing leases on a first-come, first-served basis or an auction.

Lithium is a key component of batteries and many electronic devices.

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