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Lithium mining to grow in Nevada

The Bureau of Land Management Humboldt River Field Office has released the final environmental impact statement analyzing the Lithium Nevada Corp.’s proposed lithium mine, processing plant and continued exploration at Thacker Pass.

The project would include 5,700 acres of public lands within the project area located approximately 17 miles northwest of Orovada and 53 miles north-northwest of Winnemucca in Humboldt County.

This is one of two new potential lithium mining projects in Nevada. Another project in Esmeralda County is in the works by a company named Ioneer Ltd.

The project would employ approximately 1,000 employees during construction and 300 employees once fully operational. Lithium has several uses but one of the most valuable is as a component of high energy-density rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Lithium consumption for batteries has increased significantly in recent years because rechargeable lithium batteries are used extensively in the growing market for portable electronic devices and in electric tools, electric vehicles and grid storage applications. Lithium supply security has become a top priority for technology companies in the United States and Asia.

Lithium is a critical mineral, identified as essential to the economic and national security of the United States, the supply chain of which is vulnerable to disruption. “A Federal Strategy to Ensure a Reliable Supply of Critical Minerals,” released in June 2019, directs the U.S. Department of the Interior to locate domestic supplies of those minerals, ensure access to information necessary for the study and production of minerals and expedite permitting for minerals projects.

The final environmental impact statement and other relevant documents are available at https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/1503166/510.

Questions or concerns regarding the final environmental impact statement should be directed to Ken Loda, BLM project manager, at 775-623-1500.

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