Thacker Pass Lithium Mine

Landscape of Thacker Pass
Courtesy: Lithium Americas


Current Status

On February 25, 2022, NDEP issued air, water, and mining permits for the proposed Thacker Pass Lithium Mine Project. As part of the decision, no mining will be allowed below the water table.

Approval for these permits comes after an extensive application review and revision process, as well as months of public engagement with the Orovada community and the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribes. All three permits, which are required for Lithium Nevada to start construction and operate the mine, come after NDEP determined the project can operate in a way that protects public health and the environment.

Every comment submitted regarding the project was carefully considered before finalizing the permits. As part of our commitment to keeping the public informed every step of the way throughout the permitting process, we have documented all comments received and have included our responses here.

For more on the NDEP permitting process, please refer to this booklet. Note that dates do not reflect the actual timeline for the project, as permitting decisions were extended to account for all input from the public.

Mining permit documents

A Notice of Decision was issued February 25, 2022 for both the Water Pollution Control Permit and the Mine Reclamation Permit. You can read both decisions here.

After receiving valuable feedback from the public at meetings and from submitted comments, the Water Pollution Control Permit underwent significant revisions. We have included both the final permit and a redlined version showing changes made to the original proposed permit. You can review the permit here.

The Mine Reclamation Permit was not revised from its original proposed version. The permit summarizes the land acreage that will be affected by the mine operation and requires Lithium Nevada to set aside over $47 million in financial assurance to guarantee revitalization of the site after the mine closes. You can review the permit here.

The Bureau of Mining Regulation Branch has also provided a fact sheet to help provide background on the project and the conditions of the mining permits. This fact sheet, which includes a final and redlinded version, also clarifies: how frequently the mine will be monitored; the geology and hydrology of the site; designs for mining components and processes; changes to permit conditions, and; other relevant information for the public. You can read the fact sheet here.

Air permit documents

A Notice of Decision was issued February 25, 2022 for the Air Pollution Control Permit. You can read the decision here.

We have included both the final permit and a redlined version showing changes made to the original proposed permit. You can review the permit here.

We have also included a technical review completed by the Bureau of Air Pollution Control. This document shows: permitting decisions; the expected emissions from the mining process; the modeling process used to determine emission estimates, and; relevant State and federal requirements. You can read the technical review here.

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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.




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 will operate on public land, NDEP coordinated with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the State permitting process.

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.

How can I review public documents related to the project?

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

NDEP has compiled a list of all comments recieved from the public regarding the three permits required for the project. Click here to see all comments and responses from both the Bureau of Air Pollution Control and the Bureau of Mining Regulation and Reclamation.


Receive notices for permit decisions

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

  • Go to
  • 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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