Lithium Americas (TSX: LAC) (NYSE: LAC) has moved one step closer towards production at its Thacker Pass lithium project in Nevada following the release of the project’s final environmental impact statement (EIS) by the US government.
Thacker Pass, located 100 km northwest of Winnemucca, Nevada, is host to the largest known lithium resource in the US. It is designed as a two-phase open-pit project, with production capacity that could reach 60,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) per annum over a 46 year-mine life.
The Bureau of Land Management, which oversees most of the country’s federal land, published the final EIS following a comprehensive review of the potential impacts of the project, including alternatives and a full examination of project and site-specific mitigation measures.
Those eligible to participate in developing the scope and content of the final EIS include: local communities and tribes, Humboldt County, the State of Nevada, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the US Environmental Protection Agency.
“The publication of the final EIS is the culmination of more than a decade of work studying, exploring and developing the Thacker Pass project,” Lithium Americas president and CEO Jon Evans said in a press release.
“Thacker Pass has the potential to provide future sources of high-quality lithium chemicals critical for establishing a strong domestic lithium supply chain required to support a low-carbon economy.”
The company said it expects a record of decision, the last step in the federal permitting process, early in the new year. Meanwhile, water permit applications for the project, which were submitted mid-2020, are still being reviewed by Nevada state officials.
Lithium Americas previously said it plans to spend $400 million on the first phase of the Thacker Pass project, with initial output of 20,000 tonnes of lithium annually. The mine is expected to open by 2023.