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A new Oregon mining boom could be a bust for sage grouse

In this April 20, 2013 file photo, male greater sage grouse perform mating rituals for a female...
In this April 20, 2013 file photo, male greater sage grouse perform mating rituals for a female grouse, not pictured, on a lake outside Walden, Colo. The Biden administration is considering new measures to protect the ground-dwelling bird that was once found across much of the U.S. West. It has lost vast areas of habitat in recent decades due to oil and gas drilling, grazing, wildfires and other pressures. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)(David Zalubowski | AP)
Published: May. 14, 2022 at 10:08 AM PDT
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MCDERMITT, Ore. (AP) - Katie Fite crouched behind sagebrush in early April, peak mating season for sage grouse on part of the Oregon-Nevada border.

Fite could see male grouse issuing their signature zip-popping mating call.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports around the area were also stakes marking where mining companies may scrape away the crucial habitat to get at the minerals contained in the McDermitt Caldera.

The McDermitt Caldera used to be off-limits to new mining claims to protect sage grouse. But it’s laced with some of the highest concentrations of lithium in the United States, making it desirable for prospectors looking to mine it for batteries to store renewable energy and power electric vehicles.

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