Thacker Pass Lithium Mine

Landscape of Thacker Pass
Courtesy: Lithium Americas

 

What's next?

On October 28, 2021, NDEP made a preliminary determination to issue both a Water Pollution Control Permit and Mine Reclamation Permit for the Thacker Pass lithium mine. You can review the draft Water Pollution Control Permit documentsThe draft Mine Reclamation Permit documents are also available for review.

The public comment period for the proposed Mine Reclamation permit was open from October 28, 2021 through December 1, 2021. NDEP is currently reviewing all comments received. The public comment period for the proposed Water Pollution Control Permit has been extended for one week and is open from October 28, 2021 through December 8, 2021. Learn how to submit your comment to NDEP.

NDEP will provide a response to all comments received from the public regarding the permits. You can review all the comments and responses here.

On October 18, 2021, NDEP made a preliminary determination to issue an Air Pollution Control Permit for the Thacker Pass lithium mine. The public comment period for this proposed permit was open from October 18, 2021 through November 18, 2021. NDEP is currently reviewing all comments received.

NDEP will provide a response to all comments received from the public regarding the permit. Click here to review comments and responses received prior to the Public Comment period.

For more on the NDEP permitting process, please refer to this booklet. Note that dates are subject to change.

 

 

I want to:

The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) is pleased to provide opportunities for the community to share input and help inform NDEP’s upcoming permit decisions for the proposed Thacker Pass Lithium Mine.

At this time there are no future public events scheduled.

Opportunities for the public to provide comments and input

Along with attending community outreach events and public hearings, you can provide your thoughts on NDEP permitting actions during the 30-day public comment period.

If you would like to leave a comment regarding the Mining Water Pollution Control Permit, mail or email your comment by December 8, 2021.

Mail:

Nevada Division of Environmental Protection,
Bureau of Mining Regulation and Reclamation
901 S. Stewart Street, Suite 4001
Carson City, Nevada 89701

Email:

ndepthackerpass [at] ndep.nv.gov

 

Past meetings

December 1, 2021

Slides from the presentation are available here.

November 18, 2021

Slides from the presentation are available here.


June 24, 2021

 

May 25, 2021

Slides from the presentation are available here.

 

April 22, 2021

Slides from the presentation are available here.

 


 

Background

Courtesy: Bureau of Land Management

 

The Thacker Pass Lithium Mine is located in Humboldt County, about 25 miles from the Nevada-Oregon border. The proposed mine covers 9 square miles of public land, and would operate on one of the largest lithium deposits in the U.S. The Thacker Pass deposit sits within an extinct supervolcano — the McDermitt Caldera.

 

What does the proposed Thacker Pass Lithium Mine entail?

The proposed Thacker Pass Lithium Mine would consist of open-pit mining and lithium processing operations. Using ore crushing, acid leaching, and processing methods, the mine would produce lithium carbonate — which would be turned into battery-grade lithium products.

The mine would include an acid plant that will use sulfuric acid for leaching. This would also generate steam to power the mine.

 

How will the mine be regulated?

Multiple federal, state, and local permits are required before a facility can begin mining. Since the Thacker Pass Lithium Mine would operate on public land, NDEP is coordinating with BLM in the State permitting process. In December 2020, BLM issued its final environmental impact statement, approving the mine.

In order to receive the necessary permits to operate a mine in Nevada, a facility must undergo an extensive and thorough process. This ensures that the surrounding land will have a productive use after the mine closes, and that air quality and waters of the State will be protected.

Read more about mining practices in Nevada.

 

Mining permits

The Thacker Pass Lithium Mine requires two mining permits from NDEP: a Mining Reclamation Permit and a Water Pollution Control Permit.

The Mining Reclamation Permit notes the amount of land allowed to be disturbed by the project. It also requires a plan from the facility to reclaim the land for a productive use once the mine closes. This requires a cost estimate and financial assurance for reclamation.  

The Water Pollution Control Permit reviews designs and plans for the mine to make sure contaminates do not harm waters of the State. The permit must be renewed every five years.

Air permit

NDEP’s Class II Air Pollution Control Permit sets emission limits for the facility, requires operators to regularly monitor, record, and report emissions to NDEP, and allows inspectors to be at the facility to verify compliance with the permit and observe tests being conducted. This ensures the mine complies with State and federal regulations.  

The permit will need to be renewed every five years. Emissions from the mine will not be allowed to exceed the permit limits, unless a revision application is submitted and a revised permit is issued.

If you would like to review public records related to the Thacker Pass Lithium Mine, sign up for NDEP Document Viewer

Mining Regulation and Reclamation:

  • Search Mining Water Pollution Control documents by choosing “BMRR”, then entering “Thacker Pass” in the Project Name field, or “NEV2020104” in the Permit Number field.
  • Search Mining Reclamation documents by choosing “BMRR_RECLAMATION”, then entering “Thacker Pass” in the Project Name field.  

Air Pollution Control:

  • Search all documents by entering "Lithium Nevada Corporation" in the Project Name field.
  • Search documents related to the Class II Air Quality Permit Application by entering "AP14794334" in the Permit Number field

 If you can't find the documents you're looking for, you can follow the instructions to submit a public records request.

 

See submitted Public Comments and Responses from NDEP

The Bureau of Air Pollution Control has compiled a list of all comments received from the public regarding the proposed Air Pollution Control Permit. Click here to see all comments and responses from NDEP.

 

Receive notices for permit decisions

To receive public notices about when a public comment period begins:

  • Go to ndep.nv.gov/posts
  • At the bottom of the page, click the “Get Notices” button
  • Select “Mining Regulation and Reclamation Notices,” “Air Quality Info and Notices,” and “Water Pollution Control Public Notices” (you will have to enter your email separately for all three notices)
  • You will then be notified when the public comment period begins for a Notice of Proposed Action. Please review the Notice, Draft Permit and Fact Sheet provided for more information.

You can also check the News and Public Notices page for any updates on the Thacker Pass Lithium Mine — or any other project.

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