In remote Nevada valley, race for more lithium comes down to water – Daniel Rothberg (Nevada Independent – October 31, 2022)

There is an otherworldly feel to the crystalline-blue evaporation ponds that sit in Clayton Valley, an arid area in Nevada’s least populated county, Esmeralda. From above, the ponds look like a grid of pooled water arranged in a gradient that moves from a deep-sea blue to a light-sky tone. The man-made desert pools contain what is naturally underneath the ground: water.

Pumps, drilled deep into the Earth, pull brine from an underground aquifer, and pipes move the salty water into the expansive holding ponds. This is not just any water. It is rich in lithium, a mineral needed for electric cars and large-scale storage batteries, technologies in high demand as countries and industries seek to decarbonize national economies and electric grids.

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Doubts downstream: Residents of Libby, Mont., have heard selenium from Canadian coal mines isn’t a threat. But trust in industry is hard to come by after hundreds here died from minerals contaminated with asbestos. – by Joel Dryden and Rob Easton (CBC News – October 19, 2022)

Walking the streets of Libby, Mont., on a hazy September day, it’s not uncommon to hear the cough of a local resident. The picturesque, blue-collar town about an hour southwest of the Canada-U.S. Border in Montana’s north was once bustling with jobs thanks to nearby vermiculite mines. The work helped line locals’ wallets with steady pay. And lined their lungs with toxic asbestos dust.

Years of remediation have helped make the town of about 2,700 safe again following what government officials called the worst case of industrial poisoning of a community in American history. But residents are still struggling to rebuild after hundreds died, and approximately 2,400 have been diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases.

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How a Quebec graphite mine is dividing a community’s support for the EV revolution – by Neal Rockwell (Globe and Mail – October 9, 2022)

The Matawinie mine is part of a larger plan to make Canada into a manufacturing hub for lithium ion batteries. But some worry the project isn’t as clean as it claims to be

The Matawinie graphite mine, located about two hours north of Montreal, is a small part of an ambitious government plan to make Canada into a manufacturing hub for lithium ion batteries. Electric cars can’t function without somewhere to store electricity, the thinking goes, meaning this country needs battery supply chains if it hopes to stay relevant in a future without fossil fuels.

But the mine has not yet begun producing graphite at commercial scale. It is still in the early phases of construction and – like many Canadian resource projects – it is riven with controversy.

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The Race for US Lithium Hinges on a Fight Over a Nevada Mine – by Daniel Moore (Bloomberg News – September 5, 2022)

(Bloomberg) — The high-desert mountain pass overlooking alfalfa fields and RV parks doesn’t look like a battleground that will shape the country’s clean energy future.

But when the rock samples here are pulverized, pulled apart and mixed with chemicals, they yield a metal increasingly seen as white gold: lithium, a critical ingredient for batteries used in electric vehicles, solar energy storage, and consumer electronics.

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Twin Metals sues Biden administration to regain mine leases – by Steve Karnowski (Associated Press/Arizona Daily Star – August 22, 2022)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The developers of a proposed copper-nickel mine upstream from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota sued the Biden administration Monday to seek the reinstatement of federal mineral rights leases that are crucial to the $1.7 billion project.

Twin Metals Minnesota alleged in its lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, that the Department of the Interior acted illegally earlier this year when it canceled the leases. The company asked the court to declare that those leases remain valid and in force, so that it can proceed with the environmental review and permitting process.

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The cost of green energy: The nation’s biggest lithium mine may be going up on a site sacred to Native Americans – by Chloe Atkins and Christine Romo (NBC News – August 11, 2022)

The huge project on public land, approved by the Trump administration in its final days, has sparked an outcry and a lawsuit, but opposition among Native Americans is not unanimous.

Thacker Pass, a remote valley in the high desert of northern Nevada, will always be sacred for Gary McKinney of the Paiute-Shoshone Tribe. He often visits to honor ancestors said to be killed here by U.S. soldiers in 1865. “It’s been a gathering place for our people,” said McKinney, who lives on the Duck Valley Reservation, 100 miles to the east.

McKinney and others are now fighting a new battle over an open-pit mine planned for Thacker Pass, which sits atop a massive lode of lithium. Driven by soaring demand for lithium, which is vital to electric car batteries and renewable energy, a company called Lithium Americas hopes to break ground this year on the biggest lithium mine in the U.S.

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Mining giant Rio Tinto hit by legal battle over sacred Apache site at Oak Flat in Arizona – by Francesca Washtell (Financial Mail/This Money – August 6, 2022)

The serene Oak Flat upland lies in the heart of Arizona. With its beautiful peaks and forest, it is a beloved spot for campers, hikers and rock climbers. Above all, it is the centre of the San Carlos Apache tribe’s religion, a place of devotion where their gods dwell and they still perform traditional ceremonies.

But it is now at the centre of a dispute between the tribe and FTSE 100 giant Rio Tinto. It is also shaping up to be an acid test of the mining group’s claims that it is determined to respect sacred sites.

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Opinion: Mining activity threatens ecosystem at Wolf Lake – by Naomi Grant, Franco Mariotti and Viki Mather (Sudbury Star – July 6, 2022)

Naomi Grant, Franco Mariotti, and Viki Mather are steering committee members with the Wolf Lake Coalition.

Wolf Lake is the largest remaining old-growth red pine forest in North America. This globally significant and endangered ecosystem is a recreational paradise known around the world. It has been recognized as a fish sanctuary, a candidate for park status, and as a priority natural area for protection.

It is also the site of active mining leases and claims. Wolf Lake’s Forest Reserve status protects it from logging but allows mining activity, with the intention for the lands to be added to the provincial park or conservation reserve when the mining claim or lease expires through normal processes.

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More uranium mining near the Grand Canyon? Might as well just poison our water now – by Carletta Tilousi (AZ – June 21, 2022)

Tribal leader Carletta Tilousi is a citizen of the Havasupai Tribe and sits on the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council.

The Pinyon Plain uranium mine sits fewer than 10 miles from Grand Canyon National Park on the ancestral homelands of my people, the Havasupai, the “people of the blue-green water.” As the guardians of the Grand Canyon, we are fighting to protect our sacred lands and waters against harm that federal and state agencies continue to permit.

The Biden administration has promised to prioritize environmental justice and listen to Indigenous voices. Yet it is considering moving forward with a uranium reserve program that would use taxpayer dollars to buy uranium from operations like the Pinyon Plain Mine.

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Canada mining push puts major carbon sink and Indigenous lands in the crosshairs – by Spoorthy Raman ( – June 2, 2022)

Since the last ice age, wide rivers have meandered toward the southern shores of Hudson Bay in Canada, to join its salty waters. On their way, they’ve created swaths of wetlands, filled with carbon-packed peat bog. The Cree Indigenous people who have lived here for millennia call these peatlands Yehewin Aski, or “the Breathing Lands,” for they believe these wetlands act as the lungs of Mother Earth.

“It’s such a watery landscape,” says Lorna Harris, a peatland ecosystem scientist at the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada. “Every peatland is connected to every other peatland that is next to it, which is then connected to the streams, which go to the rivers downstream, all the way down to Hudson Bay and James Bay.”

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Two fires hit key copper projects in Peru amid protests -sources – by Marcelo Rochabrun (Reuters – June 1, 2022)

LIMA, May 31 (Reuters) – Two fires broke out at key copper projects in Peru, sources told Reuters, hitting MMG Ltd’s (1208.HK) Las Bambas copper mine and Southern Copper Corp’s (SCCO.N) planned Los Chancas project, amid escalating local protests.

Peru, the world’s No. 2 copper producer, is suffering increasingly violent community protests against mines in recent months, as communities demand higher benefits from the industry and prices for the red metal remain high.

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Biden Admin Blocks Yet Another Massive Mining Project, Hobbling Its Own Climate Agenda – by Thomas Catenacci (Ohio Star – May 31, 2022)

The Biden administration proposed stringent clean water restrictions on a watershed in southwest Alaska Wednesday, a potential fatal blow to a planned critical mineral development project.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would review a proposal to prohibit the use of the Bristol Bay watershed as a discharge site for the Pebble Project, a mining project that would produce about 1.5 billion tons of critical minerals, including copper and molybdenum, over 20 years.

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Proposal to ban mining near Minnesota’s Boundary Waters sets off battle in Congress – by Jacob Fischler (Iowa Capital Dispatch – May 30, 2022)


A proposal to ban mining near the most popular wilderness area in the country is dividing members of Congress along party lines following President Joe Biden’s decision earlier this year to block federal approval of a new mine.

Democrats on the House Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee said last week they supported Minnesota U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum’s bill to permanently protect nearly a quarter-million acres of Superior National Forest near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from the polluting byproducts of mining for nickel, cobalt, copper and other minerals.

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EPA deals fresh blow to PolyMet’s $1 billion copper-nickel mine – by Editor ( – May 5, 2022)

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has dealt a fresh blow to PolyMet Mining’s (TSX: POM) plans to build an open pit copper-nickel mine in Minnesota, by recommending the US Army Corps of Engineers not re-issue a key water-related permit.

The agency said this week the $1 billion NorthMet project, the first large-scale project to be permitted within the Duluth Complex in northeastern Minnesota, risked increasing levels of mercury and other pollutants in the St. Louis River downstream from the proposed mine.

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How mining for clean energy could undermine Biden’s EJ goals – by Jael Holzman and Scott Waldman (E&E News – April 19, 2022)


The Biden administration has said it is activating all the levers of government to advance environmental justice for people of color. However, one of President Joe Biden’s own policies for climate action might challenge his commitment to racial equity.

Earlier this month, Biden invoked a wartime law to free up federal funds for domestic mining activities for five metals sought by manufacturers of zero-carbon energy products: lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite and manganese. It was a move that, if successful, could help open mines across the country to support the production of electric vehicles and other technologies that are needed to reduce the country’s use of fossil fuels.

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