Thacker Pass Lithium Mine

Landscape of Thacker Pass
Courtesy: Lithium Americas

 

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Upcoming events

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.

Join NDEP for the following public events to learn about our air and mining water pollution control permitting processes, engage in Q&A sessions, and provide public comments:

Community Meeting (Public)

May 25, 2021

6:00 p.m.

                                      Orovada Community Center                                          125 Willard Drive, Orovada, NV

 

Past meetings

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 Quality Operating 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.

 

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.

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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