A new lithium mine will soon be built in Nevada. The mine will be run by Lithium Nevada, a subsidiary of Canadian-owned Lithium Americas. Lithium Nevada will dig up the nation’s largest lithium supply in an almost two square miles open-pit mine. The mine has been approved to run for about 40 years.
The Bureau of Land Management approved the permit of the mine in January. It is located between The Great Basin Desert of northern Nevada and southern Oregon. This area is about 26 miles from the Fort McDermitt Paiute Shoshone Reservation. It is also the traditional home of several related Indigenous nations.
The mine is expected to provide well-paid, highly skilled works to the reservation’s isolation community. The mine is also expected to be able to be the stimulus for recovery from coronavirus.
Without proper management, the mine will contaminate local groundwater with dangerous heavy metals, in particular a “plume” of antimony, for at least 300 years. There is also a concern that the water table will drop dramatically as the mine will use 2500 acre-feet of well water per year.
Lithium is one of the main material for Electrovoltaic Vehicle or EV, a part of efforts to combat climate change. The extraction of lithium will produce approximately the approximately 5,800 tons of sulfuric acid on-site each day.