Since mid-January, two American activists have been camping on a windy plateau in Nevada, at Thacker Pass, to obstruct a lithium mine project. This metal plays an essential role in the ” green ” economy , but its extraction would doom an entire ecosystem.

by Élisabeth Schneiter, February 6 , 2021

On January 15, Max Wilbert, an activist for Deep Green Resistance , and Will Falk, writer and lawyer, left for Thacker Pass in Nevada. They pitched their tents on a muddy plateau open to the wind, a vast fruticia of dry sagebrush, where many species adapted to this difficult environment live, especially birds. In this season, temperatures drop to -30 ° C at night.

That day, the United States Bureau of Land Management ( BLM ), the administration that manages this federal land, had just approved the project of the Canadian company Lithium Americas Corp., thanks to the latest authorized destruction decisions. by the Trump administration , which on that day also added mining to the list of industries that can benefit from a fast-track clearance process.

Max and Will didn’t come for sightseeing. They are defending these wild lands against a lithium mine project that would destroy nearly 2,500 hectares of land. The giant open-pit mine would measure more than 520 ha, to which would be added a sulfuric acid treatment plant and mountains of more or less toxic tailings. The operation would consume ten million liters of water and 98,500 liters of diesel fuel per day. Lithium Nevada says its mine will be carbon neutral, serving the green economy that needs lithium due to growing demand for electric vehicle batteries and energy storage systems, large and small. The mine also promises up to a thousand jobs during its construction and three hundred permanent jobs during the forty-six years that it would operate.

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