BLM launches environmental review for proposed lithium mine

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) logo.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) logo.(KOLO)
Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 10:38 AM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced Monday it will begin an environmental review for the Rhyolite Ridge lithium mine.

As KOLO previously reported, construction of the mine was delayed by the presence of a rare wildflower called Tiehm’s buckwheat. The flower was added to the endangered species list last week.

The proposed mine will be built in Esmeralda County.

“Rhyolite Ridge Mine poses an existential threat to Tiehm’s buckwheat, and we’re gearing up for a fight,” said Patrick Donnelly, Great Basin director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The recent endangered species listing gives us the most powerful tool in the conservation toolbox to prevent the extinction of this rare, beautiful wildflower.”

After its initial plans involved the complete destruction and removal of the flower, the mining company’s new plans involve completely surrounding most of the buckwheat with open-pit mining operations, leaving just a 12-foot buffer between the endangered species and the mining pit.