A US district judge in Nevada has largely upheld the federal government’s decision to approve the Thacker Pass lithium mine after challenges from environmental and other groups.
Judge Miranda Ru ruled that the US Bureau of Land Management generally did not err in approving the lithium mine permit, although it asked the agency to go back on part of the environmental analysis underlying its decision, according to court opinion. The case was returned, but without canceling the minutes of the decision.
“The Court also found that this is a rare case in which remand without vacatur is appropriate primarily because the record suggests that the BLM could correct the error identified by the Court, and the plaintiffs failed in their other legal challenges to the BLM’s decision to approve the Project “, Du wrote in her decision. “The Court will remand to the BLM to correct the error—to determine whether Lithium Nevada has valid rights to the landfill and mine tailings land it intends to use for the Project. But the Court refuses to vacate the ROD pending BLM’s review of the mining portion of the Project’s plan of operations.”
The ruling is important for Lithium Americas (NYSE:LAC) as the company wants to be able to start its mining/refining operations at Thacker Pass as soon as possible. Lithium Americas ( LAC ) targeted construction of “early works” at the Thacker crossing for the past year, according to slides from late June.
Lithium America (LAC) up 0.2% in after-hours trading.
The judge’s decision came after she held a hearing on the case about a month ago. Du previously denied a request by several Native American tribes for a preliminary injunction on the Thacker Pass lithium mine. Earlier, a judge also ruled that LAC could carry out excavation work at the Thacker Pass lithium mine in Nevada, rejecting a request from environmentalists who said the work could harm sage grouse and other wildlife.
The ruling also comes after General Motors (GM) said last Tuesday that it would jointly invest in the development of the Thacker Pass mine in Nevada, the largest known source of lithium in the US. GM ( GM ) said it will invest $650 million in Lithium Americas ( LAC ), which the companies say represents the largest investment by an automaker in the production of battery raw materials.
Also see last week’s SA contributor Long Term Tip’s article titled “Lithium Americas: My Favorite Stock For 2023.”