Thacker Pass today is a quiet stretch of land in Northern Nevada, rolling prairie nestled against the mountains, with lots of sagebrush and few people around.
But in the past year the area has become a hotspot of controversy, with national media pulling in to talk with protesters opposed to the Thacker Pass lithium mine that Lithium Americas is working toward building on the site. Some protesters have been camped out near the project site. Lengthy stories have been written on the protesters and the project.
A lot more lithium is going to be needed in the years ahead if we’re going to ramp up the manufacturing of lithium batteries for electric vehicles and other technologies, and that poses a bit of a quandary:
Is it worth it to tear up land – in some cases, rural land which has special significance to Native Americans—and burn fuel and use chemicals and impact flora and fauna today to get lithium for greener energy in the future? Some environmentalists want to stop all such projects, but others want to make sure that environmental concerns are properly addressed and don’t get brushed aside because the end product of the mine is lithium.