Make Kitco Your Homepage

Lithium America's Thacker Pass clears a court hurdle, decision sent back to BLM

Kitco News

A Nevada court judge said that the Thacker Pass decision on whether the mine can proceed will be sent back to the Bureau of Land Management.

Chief Judge Miranda M. Du's decision was published late today. Lithium America (TSE:LAC) is developing Thacker, which the company describes as being the largest known lithium resource in the United States.

The courts did not revoke the record of decision, which clears a legal hurdle for Lithium America.

"[This] is the rare case where remand without vacatur is appropriate primarily because the records suggest BLM could fix the error the Court identifies and Plaintiffs fail in their other legal challenges to BLM’s decision to approve the Project," wrote the judge in her ruling. "The Court will remand for BLM to fix the error—to determine whether Lithium Nevada possesses valid rights to the waste dump and mine tailings land it intends to use for the Project. But the Court declines to vacate the ROD pending BLM’s review of the mining plan of operations portion of the Project."

Opponents of the project were disappointed.

"This court decision doesn’t mean the Thacker Pass mine is sustainable, just, or righteous. Those issues were not heard in court. This decision means only one thing: that federal law is stacked in favor of corporations, against the planet, and against tribes and communities," wrote the group Protect Thacker Pass in a statement published after the ruling.

Steve LeVine, who runs The Electric, said the decision looks good for Lithium Americas.

The Thacker Pass lithium project is located in Humboldt County, Nevada. The company describes the project as "the largest known lithium resource in the United States." In 2018, Lithium Americas completed a pre-feasibility study (PFS) on a two-phase project with a production capacity designed to reach 60,000 tpa of battery- quality lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) and 46-year mine life. The mine will be developed as an open-pit mining operation using conventional continuous mining equipment.

Last month General Motors made a $650 million equity investment in Lithium Americas to help advance Thacker Pass.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.