Photograph of deer at Thacker Pass by Spenser Heaps for Deseret News. See the article for more of Spenser’s terrific photography.
A proposed lithium mine in rural northern Nevada has created unlikely alliances as efforts to address climate change clash with the impacts of mining
By Sofia Jeremias | Apr 6, 2021
People rarely talk about the quiet on northern Nevada’s Thacker Pass, although besides the rolling, sage-filled hills below the Double H and Montana mountains and the empty, so-blue-it-hurts-a-little sky, the quiet demands your attention.
The silence awes Wendelyn Muratore, who lives about 5 miles away from Thacker Pass on an alfalfa farm in Kings River Valley. The land surrounding her home is so quiet that after snow falls she can hear her neighbor’s footsteps crossing his yard a mile a way.
“It’s a little tiny place on the map, but it’s beautiful,” Muratore said. “The solitude. The quiet. The beauty of the desert.” There’s nothing like the smell of sagebrush after a rain.
But since hearing about the Thacker Pass open pit lithium mine proposal and all the traffic it would bring in from hauling raw materials, plus the hundreds of workers that would commute from Winnemucca, she’s been having trouble sleeping. She doesn’t want the quiet to break, doesn’t want this place she calls home to change.