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Thacker Pass lithium mine, Nevada, USA

Proposed lithium mine threatens environment, health and cultural values of local people Atsa koodakuh wyh Nuwu that are still occupying the site in order to protect both environment and culture.


The Thacker Pass Lithium Mine is a proposed mine in Northwestern Nevada, United States of America, by the company Lithium Nevada, a subsidiary of Lithium Americas. It is expected to destroy critical wildlife habitat, cause groundwater contamination anticipated to persist in excess of 300 years if not actively treated indefinitely, draw roughly 9% of the available water in a basin with no water to spare, disrupt the nearby agricultural community's ability to carry out their livelihoods, and destroy a significant cultural area/sacred site of the Paiute [1] [12].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Thacker Pass lithium mine, Nevada, USA
Country:United States of America
State or province:Nevada
Location of conflict:Orovada, Humboldt County
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral ore exploration
Tailings from mines
Mineral processing
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The leased area, at that time, included the entirety of the mineralized zones in Thacker Pass and the Montana Mountains with a total of 1,378 claims that covered more than 11,000 ha.

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Project area:3367
Level of Investment for the conflictive project1,059,000,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:10/01/2021
Company names or state enterprises:Lithium Nevada Corporation from United States of America
Lithium Americas from Canada
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:People of Red Mountain = Atsa koodakuh wyh Nuwu
Protect Thacker Pass:
Great Basin Resource Watch (GBRW):
Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada:
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Atsa koodakuh wyh Nuwu. Paiute. Shoshone.
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (undecided)
Under negotiation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The Bureau of Land Management approved the mine and protestors are still occupying the site [4]. Thacker Pass lithium project is a world-class lithium project being developed in Humboldt County, Nevada, US. Set to be the biggest lithium deposit in the US, Thacker Pass is being developed by Lithium Nevada, a fully-owned subsidiary of Lithium Americas (LAC). It is expected to have a mine life of 46 years.[16]
Sources & Materials

[1] Sierra Nevada Ally 2021: Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone tribal members protest Thacker Pass lithium mine
[click to view]

[2] PTP 2021: Press Release: Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe Cancels Agreement with Lithium Mine, Promising Lawsuit
[click to view]

[3] Reno Gazzete Journal 2021: Photos: Hundreds gather in Reno to protest the proposed Thacker Pass lithium mine
[click to view]

[4] Deseret News 2021: The rise of electric vehicles is disrupting life in a small Western community
[click to view]

[5] Great Basin Resource Watch 2021: Thacker Pass Lithium Mine in Humboldt County, NV
[click to view]

[6] OPB 2021: Judge hears fight over lithium mine on Nevada-Oregon line
[click to view]

[7] Mining Journal 2021: Digging delayed at Thacker Pass as protestors hit Reno
[click to view]

[8] This is Reno 2021: Judge to decide on injunction request to halt work on Thacker Pass lithium mine
[click to view]

[9] Earth Island Journal 2021: “Let’s Not Blow Up a Mountain and Call It Green
[click to view]

[10] Native News Online: Lithium Mining Proposal in Northern Nevada Threatens Paiute and Shoshone Land
[click to view]

[11] New York Times 2021: The Lithium Gold Rush: Inside the Race to Power Electric Vehicles
[click to view]

[12] Eugene Community Newswire 2021: Native American groups seek to preserve traditional sites threatened by lithium mine
[click to view]

[13] People of Red Mountain - Atsa koodakuh wyh Nuwu
[click to view]

[14] Lithium Americas; Thacker Pass Project
[click to view]

[15] Lithium Americas; Technical Report on the PreFeasibility Study for the Thacker Pass Project, Humboldt County, Nevada, USA; August 2018;
[click to view]

Opinion: Our ancestors' burial site is no place for a mine | Gary McKinney

Gary McKinney | Reno Gazette Journal
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[16] 26 July 2021. Mining Technology. US judge allows Lithium Americas to start Thacker Pass excavation.
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:John Hadder, [email protected], Chelsey Hand, [email protected] / Great Basin Resource Watch; Ksenija Hanacek ENVJUST, ICTA-UAB
Last update02/08/2021
Conflict ID:5605
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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