The Bureau of Land Management seeks public input on the proposed Lithium Nevada Corporation Thacker Pass Project
Winnemucca, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) analyzing the potential impacts of the proposed Thacker Pass Lithium Project in Humboldt County, Nevada. If approved, the project would develop lithium reserves within the Thacker Pass deposit, the largest and highest-grade known sedimentary deposit of this critical mineral in the United States, and the second largest in the world.
“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. We welcome information from the public and stakeholders on this project,” said Casey Hammond, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management.
The Thacker Pass Project area is located on public land adjacent to Nevada Highway 293, in Humboldt County, Nevada, approximately 17 miles northwest of Orovada and approximately 53 miles north-northwest of Winnemucca. Lithium Nevada Corporation (LNC) has submitted proposed Plans of Operations for a mine and processing facility to produce lithium compounds for various uses, as well as for the continuation of exploration and development operations with the intent of extending the overall project life. The proposed pre-production period is two years, and mine life of the project is 41 years, not including the time for mine and facility closure and reclamation.
If approved, during construction, LNC would employ approximately 1000 contractors. Once construction is complete LNC would employ approximately 300 employees. At full capacity, the mine would produce 60,000 TPA of battery-grade lithium annually.
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. The United States is not a major producer at present but has significant lithium resources.
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 (DOI) 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 Executive and Secretary's Orders for critical mineral commodities by attempting to locate lithium from federal lands.
The current exploration plan boundary encompasses approximately 3,550 acres. The project would involve expanding the plan boundary to approximately 18,000 acres, with an ultimate disturbance footprint of approximately 5,700 acres.
Publication of the DEIS opens a 45-day public comment period that closes on September 14, 2020. Information on the project and links to submit comments can be found on the project’s ePlanning site at https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/1503166/510. Public comments can be submitted through:
- Online: The BLM’s ePlanning Site
- Mail: Attn. Thacker Pass, BLM- Humboldt River Field Office, 5100 East Winnemucca Blvd., Winnemucca, NV 89445
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Comments must be received by September 14, 2020.
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.