WorldWide Drilling Resource

25 JULY 2022 WorldWide Drilling Resource® Thacker Pass Lithium Project Moves Closer to Construction Adapted from Information by Lithium Americas and the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection The U.S. Department of Interior has listed lithium as one of 35 critical minerals due to overdependence on foreign countries for supply and its importance to the nation’s security and economy. Lithium production from Thacker Pass is anticipated to meet most or all of the projected demand for lithium in the U.S. Thacker Pass is located in the McDermitt Caldera, approximately 60 miles northwest of Winnemucca, Nevada. Exploration drilling confirmed lithium mineralization to be extensive throughout the caldera with lithium-rich clays ranging in depth from a few feet down to about 295 feet. The area is owned by Lithium Nevada, a U.S. corporation and wholly owned subsidiary of Lithium Americas. In January 2021, Lithium Americas received a Record of Decision from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management representing their conclusive decision to approve a lithium mining project and the final national-level permit required for construction to begin. Earlier this year, Lithium Americas announced the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) had issued key state-level permits. These permits included the Water Pollution Control Permit, Mine Reclamation Permit, and Class II Air Quality Operating Permit. Approval for these permits came after an extensive application review and revision process, as well as months of public engagement with the Orovada community and the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribes. All three permits, which are required for Lithium Nevada to start construction and operate the mine, came after NDEP determined the project can operate in a way that protects public health and the environment. As part of the decision, no mining will be allowed below the water table. The Thacker Pass project will use mining techniques similar to those used in many coal deposits. It will be a shallow open pit with an average depth of 300 feet mined in blocks and actively reclaimed. Once one block is mined to the bottom, mining will move to the next block while backfilling begins in the previously mined area. The backfilled pits will then be capped with topsoil and revegetated with native species. Block mining allows reclamation of the land to occur quickly while only a fraction of the pit is exposed at any given time. This will minimize long-term visual impacts and allow for substantial restoration of preproject land uses by wildlife. Sawtooth Mining, a subsidiary of North American Coal, has exclusive responsibility for the design, construction, operation, maintenance, mining, and mine closure services for Thacker Pass. The project will be developed using conventional continuous mining equipment. Given the soft, clay nature of the deposit, minimal blasting and crushing is expected. Receiving permits from NDEP represented a major milestone toward production. “With the final key state environmental permits in hand, Lithium Americas can begin to advance Thacker Pass towards construction,” said Jonathan Evans, president and CEO. “Thacker Pass provides an opportunity to enable a U.S.-based battery supply chain for the growing electric vehicle market. Our commitment to developing Thacker Pass in the most environmentally responsible way is demonstrated from over a decade of conducting the necessary planning, design, and engagement.” MIN Starr Hydro, Inc.’s Standard Frack Unit (SFU) has a 75-horsepower, 4-cylinder, Tier 4 Final Kubota engine, 2-speed hydraulic motor, variable speed hydraulic pump, with 3000 psi and 80 gallons per minute on a 4-foot x 8-foot base (pictured). Their Compact Frack Unit (CFU) offers the same features on a smaller 4-foot x 4-foot base. The company also has low-, medium-, and highpressure packers in a wide variety of sizes to fit any water well application.