Thacker Pass lithium mine breaks ground

Tribes protest Thacker Passs lithium mine
Tribes protest Thacker Passs lithium mine(Ed Pearce)
Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 6:56 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -There’s little to distinguish Thacker Pass from the rest of the Great Basin’s high desert landscape,but for the history it holds and the green energy future it promises,

Those two values have been in conflict, the source of a legal struggle, ever since it was discovered that beneath its surface, lies a huge deposit of lithium, one of the largest in the world. And lithium is one of the keys to a transition away from fossil fuels, the essential component in the batteries that power electric vehicles.

But Thacker Pass is valuable, even sacred, to Native Americans for another reason. It is believed to have been the scene of a massacre of Paiute men, women and children in 1865. T^hat history and concern for impacts the mine would have on threatened wildlife have brought tribes and conservationists to court to oppose the mine and the federal permits which clared the way for it.

Those arguments were rejected last month by fedreal Judge Miranda Du and, although the tribes have filed a new lawsiot alleging Lithium Americas lied in their application. there’s currently no legal barrier standing in the way of the mine.

So, the company has broken ground, signed a contract with international construction giant Bechtel to finish the job and has welcomed General Motors as a major investor, a move which will put the mine’s entire production into GM electric vehicles for a decade.

The fight over what this landscape holds may not be over, but, for the moment at least, the view is forward.