The Bureau of Land Management releases final environmental impact statement for the Thacker Pass Lithium Mine
As part of the Trump Administration’s priority to responsibly develop domestic supplies of critical minerals, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Humboldt River Field Office has released the final environmental impact statement analyzing the Lithium Nevada Corporation’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.
“Under the Trump Administration’s leadership, we are developing reliable domestic sources of lithium and other critical minerals, keeping the United States’ manufacturing capacity competitive and maintaining our nation’s technology and national security edge,” said Casey Hammond, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management.
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 on the list of 35 Minerals Deemed Critical to U.S. National Security and the Economy. “Critical minerals” are identified as essential to the economic and national security of the United States, the supply chain of which is vulnerable to disruption, and that serves essential functions in the manufacturing of products. In June of 2019, the Trump Administration released, “A Federal Strategy to Ensure a Reliable Supply of Critical Minerals,” to make America’s economy and defense more secure. The strategy 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. This project is consistent with the strategy and with the Executive Order on Addressing the Threat to the Domestic Supply Chain from Reliance on Critical Minerals from Foreign Adversaries.
The final environmental impact statement and other relevant documents are available at https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/1503166/510. For any questions or concerns regarding the final environmental impact statement, please contact Ken Loda, BLM project manager, at (775) 623-1500.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in the 11 Western states and Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In fiscal year 2018, the diverse activities authorized on BLM-managed lands generated $105 billion in economic output across the country. This economic activity supported 471,000 jobs and contributed substantial revenue to the U.S. Treasury and state governments, mostly through royalties on minerals.