RENO (AP) — A federal judge has denied tribal leaders’ bid to temporarily block digging for an archaeological study required before construction can begin for a Nevada lithium mine on what they say is sacred land where their ancestors were massacred more than century ago.
U.S. District Judge Miranda Du refused three tribes’ request for a preliminary injunction blocking the trenching planned to collect samples near the Oregon state line at the site of the largest known lithium deposit in the United States.
The tribes say their ancestors were massacred in the late 1800s at the proposed Thacker Pass site. Lithium is a key component in electric vehicle batteries. Demand for the mineral is expected to triple over the next five years.
Du emphasized in the ruling late Friday in Reno she has pledged to hear and rule on the merits of the case before Lithium Nevada Corp. hopes to begin construction early next year on the mine the U.S. Bureau of Land Management approved in January.