About Thacker Pass
Thacker Pass is a physical feature in Humboldt County Nevada, part of the McDermott Caldera approximately 60 miles northwest of Winnemucca. It was formed 16 mil + years ago, is traditional and unceded territory of the Paiute and Shoshone people, and is United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public land. The traditional Paiute name of Thacker Pass is Pee-hee-mm-huh meaning “rotten moon.” Now it is also the proposed site for a massive lithium mine that would destroy the area and valuable habitat for the creatures who live there.
It is a stunningly biodiverse, wild, expansive, and beautiful desert in the mountains.
The lithium mine is “to supply the electric car industry”.
Thacker Pass is habitat for:
- Crosby’s buckwheat (rare desert wildflower only found in this area)
- King River pyrg (a critically endangered snail)
- Big horn sheep
- Golden Eagles
- Sage grouse
- Pronghorn antelope
- Old Growth Sagebrush
Location of proposed mine: North-central Nevada
About Lithium Mining
“The future demand for lithium is truly staggering…. Battery demand is rising at the rate of one to two new lithium mines per year, growing to two to three mines per year by 2020.” — Mike Kobler, CEO, American Lithium, exploring lithium mining in Southern Nevada
Lithium Americas is a Vancouver, Canadian-based company. They want to mine 5,000 acres using an open pit which would be roughly one mile across and two miles wide. The mine would burn around 11,300 gallons of diesel fuel per day. It would provide up to 25% of global lithium supply.
- Lithium is present at 2000-9000 ppm (0.2-0.9%)
- Producing one ton of lithium will require strip mining and processing between ~110 and 500 tons of Earth.
- The end product is lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide.
- They will build a sulfuric acid plant at site to convert molten sulfur into sulfuric acid to leach the lithium from clay stone. Following the leaching, the lithium bearing solution is purified using crystallizers and reagents to produce battery grade Li2CO3.
- Hundreds of Tons of Sulfur (waste from Oil Refineries) will be trucked in and burned every day at the mine site (roughly 75 semi loads of sulfur a day).
- This in turn will produce thousands of tons of Sulfuric acid every day, up to 5800 tons a day.
For more information on Thacker Pass and the Lithium Americas Mine, download our Factsheet (PDF).
Want to get involved?
As a movement for the health of our earth, the people that live here, and the health of the ecosystems necessary for life of any kind on this planet, we are always expanding, growing, learning, and resisting. If you feel called to help Thacker Pass and/or help with related actions, we would love to hear from you!