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Thacker Pass
Community Connections


Working towards maintaining the area’s high quality of life while providing family-supporting jobs and combatting the global climate crisis

Lithium Americas, through its 100% owned subsidiary Lithium Nevada, is proud to support the economic development and environmentally responsible production of lithium at Thacker Pass.

For more than 10 years now, we have been engaged in this community through open houses, public meetings, job creation, environmental preservation and philanthropy.

What is Thacker Pass?

Thacker Pass Overview


What is Thacker Pass?

Thacker Pass map

Thacker Pass is the largest and most advanced lithium project in the United States. Located in the McDermitt Caldera, approximately 60 miles north-northwest of Winnemucca, Nevada, the project is located on public lands administered by the US Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In January 2021, Thacker Pass received a Record of Decision from the BLM, representing their final decision to approve the project and the final national-level permit required to start construction.

Construction is expected to commence in H1 2022 after final ruling of the BLM appeal and receipt of key state-level permits.

Thacker Pass will be built in phases to mine lithium-bearing ore and make high-purity, specialty chemicals required by the lithium-ion battery industry. The initial Phase 1 is for production capacity of 40,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of battery-quality lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE). Phase 2 is for production capacity of up to 80,000 tpa of LCE.


Responsible Operations

Responsible Operations

Since 2008, we have worked to minimize the environmental footprint of the project and exceed regulatory standards. By incorporating existing and emerging technologies (such as electric trucks and heavy equipment), Thacker Pass aims to be an entirely carbon neutral project.

Water
Thacker Pass will use little water - approximately 2,600 acre-feet per year in Phase 1 and an additional 2,600 acre-feet per year in Phase 2*.

Thacker Pass will draw less than 1% of the total approximate 350,000 acre-feet per year pumped from Humboldt Country.

All process water will be recycled in a closed-loop cooling circuit, as a cleaner alternative to evaporation coolers, allowing us to save more than 1,000 acre-feet of water each year.

Sensitive Species
Working with the Bureau of Land Management, the US Fish & Wildlife Service we worked hard to reduce any potential effects on natural resources in the area. We have taken particular care to ensure operations will not affect protected trout habitat, sage grouse leks or golden eagle nests, and will conduct extensive testing during operations to continuously confirm these conclusions.

We established the Great Basin Sagebrush Restoration Fund in 2017 with the University of Nevada, Reno to develop technologies that improve desert restoration so we will be better equipped to reclaim the land concurrently during mining. In fact, the coated seed technology developed through our funding is being commercialized now for others to use.

* See What is Thacker Pass? for details on Phase 1 and Phase 2.


Job Opportunities

Job Opportunities

The development of Thacker Pass will create jobs, increase economic activity and generate tax revenues for the state of Nevada. View our job openings in Winnemucca and Reno. Job openings should increase as we get closer to construction and operations, so check back often.

Lithium Americas’ goal is to hire locally to the greatest extent possible to provide fulfilling, family-supporting jobs. During the two-year construction phase, Thacker Pass is expected to employ up to 1,000 contractors. When the mine reaches full capacity, Thacker Pass is expected to employ approximately 300 people with family-supporting jobs1 for the 46-year life of mine.

Thacker Pass and its employees will increase economic activity within Humboldt County by purchasing goods and services from local retailers, vendors and other service providers. We estimate that the ripple effect of our investment of over $1 billion to develop Thacker Pass will create additional spending of approximately $650 million.

1 Based on the expected hiring needs for construction and operation of the project, and subject to changes to project scope and scale and general economic factors.

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Economic and Community Benefits

Community


Economic and Community Benefits

Thacker Pass will play an integral role in the economic development of northern Nevada. Employing up to 1,000 people during the two-year construction period and 300 high-paying permanent positions for the life of the mine (46 years). Tax payments will total more than $6.7 billion over the lifetime of the mine and Humboldt County will directly benefit from government support for road maintenance, education, safety and other public services.

We are committed to hiring and doing business locally. For every dollar spent on Thacker Pass, an estimated additional fifty cents will be spent elsewhere in the local community in northern Nevada. We estimate that the economic ripple effect of this project will create additional spending of approximately $650 million in the area over the life of the mine.

Additionally, Thacker Pass will bring infrastructure improvements, new workforce development and training programs, and several hundred indirect jobs to support mine construction and operations.


Community Relations

Community Relations

We are committed to engaging with community stakeholders, resolving concerns, providing skills training and supporting area efforts to provide essential services. For more than 10 years now, we have been engaged in this community through open houses, public meetings, job creation, environmental preservation and philanthropy.

Thacker Pass was designed reflecting information collected during numerous stakeholder meetings and open houses, including ongoing engagement with the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe.

We believe that collaboration with our stakeholder groups and adherence to local, national and international standards for environmental and social performance are paramount to our ability to drive improved environmental, social and financial outcomes.

We are excited to continue this engagement process as the project advances.


Job Opportunities

Job Opportunities

The development of Thacker Pass will create jobs, increase economic activity and generate tax revenues for the state of Nevada. View our job openings in Winnemucca and Reno. Job openings should increase as we get closer to construction and operations, so check back often.

Lithium Americas’ goal is to hire locally to the greatest extent possible to provide fulfilling, family-supporting jobs. During the two-year construction phase, Thacker Pass is expected to employ up to 1,000 contractors. When the mine reaches full capacity, Thacker Pass is expected to employ approximately 300 people with family-supporting jobs1 for the 46-year life of mine.

Thacker Pass and its employees will increase economic activity within Humboldt County by purchasing goods and services from local retailers, vendors and other service providers. We estimate that the ripple effect of our investment of over $1 billion to develop Thacker Pass will create additional spending of approximately $650 million.

1 Based on the expected hiring needs for construction and operation of the project, and subject to changes to project scope and scale and general economic factors.

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American Supply Chain and Reducing GHG Pollution

American Supply Chain &
Reducing GHG Pollution


American Supply Chain and Reducing GHG Pollution

The United States Department of Defense has listed lithium as one of 35 critical minerals, because of US overdependence on foreign countries for supply, and its importance to American security and economic prosperity. Production from Thacker Pass is anticipated to meet most or all of the projected demand for lithium in the United States and will significantly reduce the country’s dependency on foreign suppliers.

America has an opportunity to flight climate change consistent with President Biden’s goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by no later than 20501, by creating a domestic lithium supply chain that would reduce the country’s overall GHG pollution. The world is increasingly relying on electric transportation to mitigate global warming, with demand for lithium forecasted to increase by 300% by 2025 – that’s only four years away.

The manufacturing of batteries has a global footprint. Currently most of the world’s lithium is mined in Australia or South America and only 1% is mined in the US. Lithium concentrate is then shipped mostly to China, to be processed into battery chemicals. These lithium chemicals are then often shipped to other parts of Asia, the US or Europe to make into cathodes and install in battery packs. The batteries are then often shipped to another location for installation into their final product, such as electric vehicles. This current supply chain is inefficient and uses a lot of energy.

The Thacker Pass project could enable a US domestic supply chain that would allow domestic car manufacturers to produce electric vehicles from battery materials completely sourced and manufactured in the US, bringing down the overall carbon footprint, transport costs and risks.

In 2020, Lithium Americas joined a coalition of 30 companies to launch the Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA), an organization dedicated to achieving 100% electric vehicle sales in the US by 2030. ZETA’s objective is to secure American global EV manufacturing leadership, dramatically improve public health and significantly reduce carbon pollution.

1 FACT SHEET: President Biden Sets 2030 Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Target Aimed at Creating Good-Paying Union Jobs and Securing US Leadership on Clean Energy Technologies | The White House

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Team


Tim Crowley

Tim Crowley

VP, Government and Community Relations

Tim Crowley joined the Thacker Pass team in 2017 and has been working closely with federal and state-level governments, as well as developing long-standing relationships within the local community. He previously co-founded Crowley & Ferrato, a government and public relations firm, and served six years as president of the Nevada Mining Association. His government relations experience is rooted to working on Capitol Hill as a legislative aide for Senator Harry Reid followed by serving as a senior member of Governor Bob Miller's administration. Tim was also a founding partner in the Griffin Crowley Group.

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Maria Anderson

Maria Anderson

Community Relations Manager

Maria Anderson joined the team in 2019 as Community Relations Manager and is based out of the Winnemucca office. Maria has vast experience in community relations and is a certified professional in human resources. In her role as Community Relations Manager, Maria works to provide regular communication and interaction with Lithium Americas’ neighbors and stakeholders. She also helps to establish essential job training programs specific to positions that will become available during planned project construction, and when Thacker Pass operations begin. Prior to joining Lithium Nevada, Maria spent the last 12 years working in the mining industry in community relations and human resources within the Nevada operations of Barrick Gold and Newmont Mining. She also previously served as human resource assistant for the City of Elko, Nevada. Maria holds a Bachelor of Applied Science, Management in Technology degree from Great Basin College. Maria is originally from Elko where she is an enrolled member of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada.

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Interviews


November 8, 2021
Yahoo Finance

November 8, 2021
KSNV 3 News Las Vegas

November 7, 2021
CBS News

September 7, 2021
Reno Gazette Journal

September 3, 2021
Reuters

August 26, 2021
Fox Business Network

June 20, 2021
The Nevada Independent

June 19, 2021
Global Lithium Podcast

May 21, 2021
Global Lithium Podcast

May 14, 2021
Yahoo Finance

April 28, 2021
Sierra Nevada Ally

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Factsheets

Overview

Biodiversity

Community

Mining and Processing

FAQS

What is Lithium?

Lithium is a light, versatile metal used in most rechargeable electronics like mobile phones, laptops, and electric vehicles. See our Clean Energy page for more details.

How will lithium be mined at Thacker Pass?

Lithium Americas has contracted Sawtooth Mining, a subsidiary of the North American Coal Corporation (NACCO), to mine the lithium at Thacker Pass in a relatively simple process. This mining partnership will provide jobs at Thacker Pass to those who have been affected by the downturn in coal production. The sedimentary-clay deposit at Thacker pass requires similar mining techniques to many coal deposits.

How will lithium be mined and processed at Thacker Pass

“Our culture, the common fiber of our company, is built on safety, integrity and quality – we believe in doing the right thing every time.”

J.C. Butler
President and CEO, NACCO Industries, Inc. and The North American Coal Corporation.

In block mining, once one block is mined to the bottom, mining will move to the next block while backfilling begins in the previously mined area. This allows us to reclaim the land quickly while mining still occurs. Only a small portion of the overall pit will be exposed at any given time during operations, and the entire pit will be backfilled at the end of the mine life. The backfilled pit would then be capped with topsoil and revegetated with native species.

Sawtooth Mining has over 60 years of surface mining experience and currently operate eight surface mines in similar deposits and manage reclamation for over 200,000 acres under regulatory permits. Their extensive reclamation history has earned them over 88 federal and state awards in the last 30 years, which includes reclaiming includes over 61,000 acres of land, reconstructing over 53 miles of streams and over 1,340 acres of wetlands and planted over 8.6 million trees.

Is mining safe?

Health and safety excellence is one of our core principles, and we seek to prevent, minimize and manage occupational health and safety risks for our employees, contractors and the communities in which we operate.

We will continue to focus on health and safety as we transition from feasibility and permitting to construction and mining at Thacker Pass. This will include a formal training process and updating policies, procedures and risk assessments as identified by our company’s board-level Health, Safety, Environment and Sustainability Committee. The Committee’s mandate is to support employees and contractors to maintain their health, safety and wellbeing.

In 2019, we entered into a mine design, consulting and mining operations agreement with North American Coal, who will have exclusive responsibility for the design, construction, operation, maintenance, mining and mine closure services for Thacker Pass. They have over 60 years of surface mining experience and currently operate eight surface mines in similar deposits. They have strong safety records, one of the top five surface mine operators as of April 2021, ranked by five-year average total incident rate.

Safety performance at Thacker Pass will be reported in Lithium Americas’ sustainability report.

Why Nevada?

Nevada is home to abundant lithium resources and a talented workforce.

Since early exploration work began in 2008 at Thacker Pass, more than $100 million has been invested in Nevada, including over $8 million in environmental and cultural studies to support permitting and project planning. This effort was essential to ensure that our operations can optimize lithium yield while minimizing potential effects on natural resources in the area.

The Thacker Pass deposit is the largest and highest-grade known sedimentary lithium deposit in the United States. This is a remarkable asset for America. We are committed to responsibly mining the lithium deposit for the benefit of Nevada and the United States.

Our company shares Nevadans’ respect for the environment and commitment to community.

Where is Lithium Nevada developing the technology?

Lithium Nevada is a 100%-owned subsidiary of Lithium Americas with its office in Reno. In addition, the Company also owns and operates a processing test facility in Reno, designed to carry out metallurgical testwork to make our future processing plant as efficient and effective as possible. To date, the facility has produced over 20,000 kg of lithium sulphate solution.

What is the economic benefit for our community?

The Thacker Pass project is expected to provide substantial economic benefits to the United States at the local, state and national levels, including:

  • Direct employment of 1,000 good-paying jobs during the two-year construction period (Phase 1),
  • Direct employment of 300 good-paying permanent positions during the 46-year operating period,
  • Several hundred indirect jobs with suppliers of products and services to support mine construction and operations,
  • Over $1 billion of capital investment on a combined basis for both Phases 1 and 2 including sustaining capital, and
  • Corporate tax payments to the federal and state governments totaling approximately $6.7 billion over the 46-year operating period (based on a price of US$12,000/t of Li2CO3 and applicable tax laws currently in effect).

Humboldt County will directly benefit from government support for road maintenance, education, safety and other public services.

What is Lithium Americas doing to invest in our community?

Lithium Americas is committed to investing in Nevada. We strive to improve our communities through direct investments that increase the quality of life and serve our neighbors. We will be providing Nevadans with expected improvements to local and regional infrastructure as well as community investments.

We are committed to building capacity in the local communities through new training and skills development programs, developed with the aim of maximizing local employment.

A BuildNV Core Construction Training Program in Humboldt County was launched in late-2020 by community members from Fort McDermitt, McDermitt and Orovada. The 80-hour program is designed to train workers in construction, building maintenance, related trades in our communities and provide career technical education, helping to provide skills training that addresses a current gap in Nevada’s workforce. The Fort McDermitt Tribe kindly offered the use of their Tribal student center and gymnasium to hold classroom instruction and conduct online testing. We collaborated with Great Basin College (GBC), Winnemucca campus and Native Workforce Development of the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada (ITCN), to provide computers, software and online access to students. GBC generously donated 10 desktop computers to the Fort McDermitt Tribe.

We are committed to investing in our community and maintaining the existing high-quality of life.

In 2017, Lithium Americas partnered with the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation (UNR Foundation) and established the Great Basin Sagebrush Restoration Fund (GBSR Fund), to advance research and development towards improved, cost-effective restoration of sagebrush rangelands. Since then, several companies with operations in Nevada, including Nevada Gold Mines, Hecla, Kinross and the United States Bureau of Land Management, have made funding commitments and the GBSR Fund is now the largest sagebrush restoration fund in the United States.

How will Thacker Pass operate in an environmentally responsible manner?

Thacker Pass is a project founded on nearly 10 years of environmental baseline data collection that was thoroughly analyzed by the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management through an Environmental Impact Statement.

Since early exploration work began in 2008 at Thacker Pass, more than $100 million has been invested in Nevada, including over $8 million in environmental and cultural studies to support permitting and project planning. This effort was to ensure that our operations can minimize potential effects on natural resources in the area.

Comprehensive plans to mitigate potential impacts to wildlife, water and air have been developed, and advanced revegetation technologies have been developed through funding of the Great Basin Sagebrush Restoration Fund, established in 2017 with the University of Nevada at Reno.

We are committed to environmental stewardship and will meet or exceed all state and federal requirements during construction, operation and reclamation. We recognize that the success of our operations must be underpinned by our commitment to responsible and sustainable business practices, as outlined in our 2019 Sustainability Report.

In 2019, we entered into a mine design, consulting and mining operations agreement with North American Coal, who will have exclusive responsibility for the design, construction, operation, maintenance, mining and mine closure services for Thacker Pass. They have over 60 years of surface mining experience and currently operate eight surface mines in similar deposits. They have strong safety records (one of the top five surface mine operators as of April 2021, ranked by five-year average total incident rate) and manage reclamation for over 200,000 acres under regulatory permits. Their extensive reclamation history has earned them over 88 federal and state awards in the last 30 years, which includes reclaiming includes over 61,000 acres of land, reconstructing over 53 miles of streams and over 1,340 acres of wetlands and planted over 8.6 million trees.

“We believe that our focus on developing and maintaining strong relationships with people and communities, keeping everyone safe and operating in an environmentally sensitive manner are critical parts of our commitment to be a good corporate citizen.”

Justin Burggraff
President of Sawtooth Mining.
Is Thacker Pass going to dry up our wells?

No, the project will not dry up any wells or affect any other water rights.

Approximately 350,000 acre-feet per year are pumped from wells in Humboldt County. Thacker Pass will make up less than 1% of this total. Thacker Pass will use little water - approximately 2,600 acre-feet per year in Phase 1 and an additional 2,600 acre-feet per year in Phase 2.

All process water will be recycled in a closed-loop cooling circuit, as a cleaner alternative to evaporation coolers, allowing us to save more than 1,000 acre-feet of water each year.

Can you address the claims that you will be blowing up the Montana Mountains?

These are false claims. We have designed and engineered the mine and processing plant to avoid operating in the Montana Mountains area to protect its sagebrush habitat and important cultural areas.

Thacker Pass geological map

What is the Great Basin Sagebrush Restoration Fund?

Sagebrush ecosystems in the US have eroded to about 56% of their historical range due to land degradation, especially from wildfire and invasive species propagation. While these ecosystems provide vital habitat for many native species found in the west, sagebrush rangelands represent one of the most endangered ecosystems in the country.

In response, Lithium Americas partnered with the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation (UNR Foundation) and established the Great Basin Sagebrush Restoration Fund (GBSR Fund) in 2017 to advance research and development towards improved, cost-effective restoration of sagebrush rangelands.

Since then, several companies with operations in Nevada, including Barrick and Newmont’s Nevada Gold Mines JV, Hecla Mining, Kinross Gold and the United States Bureau of Land Management, have made funding commitments and the GBSR Fund is now the largest sagebrush restoration fund in the United States.

The GBSR Fund is led by Dr. Tamzen Stringham, a rangeland scientist and the Interim Chair of the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) Department of Agriculture, Veterinary and Rangeland Sciences. Dr. Stringham has joined forces with colleagues from UNR and other institutions with diverse backgrounds in plant community and landscape ecology, bioengineering, and wildlife biology to engineer efficient, technology-driven solutions.

To date, research supported by the GBSR Fund has produced numerous successes in seed technology, precision rehabilitation and genetics. The tools developed by the GBSR Fund were recently deployed to assist a federal agency with the rehabilitation of federal lands impacted by recent large wildfires in Nevada.

In restoring the vitality of sagebrush rangelands, Dr. Stringham’s research is essential to the preservation of the many desert animal species like the sage grouse. In 2019 and the first quarter of 2020, the GBSR Fund initiated six research studies consisting of 86 treatment and species combinations, across multiple locations in Nevada, Oregon and Utah, in concert with Brigham Young University. Additionally, experiments with Wyoming sagebrush have been initiated at two locations within the Martin fire burn scar, where germination, emergence and establishment of the species will be tested.

What is next?

Later this year, we expect to receive the remaining state permits and water right transfers required to start construction. Once the permits are in hand, we plan to start construction, currently expected to take two years.

Who owns Lithium Americas?

Lithium Americas is a publicly traded company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the trading symbol LAC. Our shareholders are geographically diverse, and our shareholder composition is a healthy mix of institutional, retail and management and directors.

Institutional locations and shareholder composition

Where can I learn more about job opportunities with Thacker Pass?

View our job openings in Winnemucca and Reno. Job openings should increase as we get closer to construction and operations, so check back often.

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