Lithium Americas Corp. [LAC-TSX, NYSE] said Tuesday it has received a favourable ruling from the U.S. District Court, District of Nevada for the appeal filed against the Bureau of Land Management for the issuance of the Record of Decision relating to the company’s 100%-owned Thacker Pass project.
It said the favourable ruling by the Federal Court confirms the permitting process for Thacker Pass was conducted thoroughly and responsibly and resulted in there being no impediment to commencing construction.
The Federal Court ordered the Bureau of Land Management to consider one issue under the mining law relating to the area designated for waste storage and tailings and did not impose any restrictions that are expected to impact the construction timeline.
The announcement comes just days after Lithium Americas and General Motors Co. [GM-NYSE] said they will jointly invest to develop the Thacker Pass mine, which ranks as the largest known source of lithium in the U.S. and the third largest in the world.
General Motors pledged to make a $650 million equity investment in Lithium Americas, marking the largest-ever investment by an automaker for the production of battery raw materials. Lithium Americas has estimated that lithium extracted and processed from the project can support production of up to 1.0 million electric vehicles annually.
“We are pleased that the Federal Court has recognized the BLM’s decision to issue the Federal Permit, reflecting our considerable efforts to ensure Thacker Pass is developed responsibly and for the benefit of all stakeholders,’’ said Lithium Americas President and CEO Jonathan Evans. “The favourable ruling leaves in place the final regulatory approval needed in moving Thacker Pass into construction.’’
The company said the Federal Court rejected the follow arguments:
- That the project will cause unnecessary and undue degradation to the local sage grouse population and habitat, groundwater aquifers and air quality;
- That the BLM failed to adequately assess the project’s impacts on air quality, wildlife and groundwater;
- That the BLM failed to adequately consider the project’s impacts on culturally or religiously significant areas;
- That the BLM acted unreasonably or in bad faith in identifying tribes for consultation before approving the project.
On February 6, 2023, Lithium Americas shares closed unchanged at $31.56. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $50.42 and $23.80.
Lithium is a key material in lithium-ion batteries and stands up well to repeated charging and discharging (including enabling fast-charging), delivers higher energy density and offers more usable capacity than other battery types.
Lithium carbonate from Thacker Pass will be used in GM’s proprietary Ultium battery cells.
The Thackers Pass lithium project is located in Humbolt County, northern Nevada. The project is situated at the southern end of the McDermitt Caldera, approximately 100 kilometres north of Winnemucca.
Production at Thacker Pass is projected to begin in the second half of 2026.