Lithium Americas one step closer to mine approval
(Kitco News) Lithium Americas Corp. (TSX, NYSE: LAC) has moved a step closer toward its goal of opening a Nevada mine, as U.S. regulators published a “notice of intent” to prepare an environmental impact statement for the Thacker Pass lithium claystone project in Nevada, the company said Tuesday.
This comes at a time when many U.S. officials have been pushing for increased domestic production of specialized minerals. Lithium is used for batteries in electric cars.
The EIS is expected to be a 12-month process that will include the government’s “record of decision” on plans for the project, the company said. Officials said the company hopes to begin construction as early as 2021.
“The initiation of the EIS process by the BLM [Bureau of Land Management] is a major accomplishment and milestone toward developing Thacker Pass as a low-cost and environmentally responsible source of lithium chemicals in the U.S.,” said Jonathan Evans, president and chief executive officer.
The company’s plan of operations includes production of battery-grade lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate, lithium metal (up to 60,000 tons per year) of lithium-carbonate equivalent, and battery manufacturing. The company said it is aiming for an initial phase with production capacity of approximately 20,000 tons of battery-quality lithium hydroxide annually, in addition to approximately 2,000 tons per year of battery-quality lithium carbonate.