Committed to sustainably develop Thacker Pass and creating family-supporting jobs as we build a domestic lithium supply chain together

The Thacker Pass project is founded on a decade of feedback through community engagement. The Project was designed reflecting information, values and concerns collected during numerous stakeholder meetings, open houses and engagement with the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe and local communities. Lithium Americas meets regularly with the local communities and hosts an Orovada working group to address ongoing community questions as we advance Thacker Pass to production.

Thacker Pass Highlights

1000+

Construction jobs created to build Thacker Pass

500

Permanent employees for the life of mine

40 years

Thacker Pass Phase 1 and 2 life of mine

$8 billion

Estimated tax payments over the life of mine

Lithium Americas is committed to maximizing sustainable value for our diverse set of stakeholders and to safely build Thacker Pass in a responsible way. Building Thacker Pass will provide the U.S. with a domestic lithium supply chain and significantly reduce the country’s dependency on foreign suppliers for this critical metal.

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Lithium is a light, versatile metal used in most rechargeable electronics like mobile phones, laptops, and electric vehicles.

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In 2019, we entered into a mine design, consulting and mining operations agreement with North American Coal, a NACCO Natural Resources company, who will have design, construction, operation, maintenance, mining and mine closure services for Thacker Pass. They have over 65 years of surface mining experience and currently operate seven surface mines in similar deposits. They have strong safety records (one of the top five surface 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 99 federal and state awards in the last 45 years, which includes reclaiming over 61,000 acres of land, reconstructing over 68 miles of streams and 1490 acres of wetlands and planted over 10 million trees.

Mining process diagram

“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.

The open pit is shallow, less than 400 feet deep and designed with a low strip ratio. The pit will be block mined with active reclamation. Minimal blasting is expected due to the mineralized soft clay, which is scooped up by large shovels.

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.

North American Coal 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 99 federal and state awards for environmental excellence in the last 45 years, with more than 60,000 acres of land reclaimed, 66 miles of streams reconstructed and more than 1,400 acres of wetlands restored. In addition, NACCO has planted more than 10 million trees.

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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 Safety 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, a NACCO Natural Resources company, who will have design, construction, operation, maintenance, mining and mine closure services for Thacker Pass.  They have over 65 years of surface mining experience and currently operate seven surface mines in similar deposits.  They have strong safety records (one of the top five surface 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 99 federal and state awards in the last 45 years, which includes reclaiming over 61,000 acres of land, reconstructing over 68 miles of streams and 1490 acres of wetlands and planted over 10 million trees.

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

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

The Thacker Pass deposit is the largest known measured and indicated resource 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.

The United States Department of Defense has listed lithium as a critical mineral because of U.S. overdependence on foreign countries for supply and its importance to American security and economic prosperity. 

Currently, the manufacturing of batteries has a global footprint. 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 global 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 supply chain risks. Production from Thacker Pass is expected to enable the production of up to 1 million electric vehicles per year.

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On July 20, 2022, Lithium Americas celebrated the inauguration of its new Lithium Technical Development Center (“LiTDC”) in Reno, with a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony. Lithium Americas' President and CEO, Jonathan Evans, was joined by then-Nevada Governor, Steve Sisolak; University of Nevada, Reno President, Brian Sandoval and members of the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe.

Team cutting a ribbon (image opens in new window)
In photo front left to right: Brian Sandoval, University of Nevada, Reno President; Jonathan Evans, President & CEO; Steve Sisolak, Governor of Nevada; Littlestar Abel; Maria Anderson, the Company's Community Relations Manager; members of the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe; and Lithium Americas' staff.
“Addressing climate change remains a defining issue for the United States, and here in Nevada we have the chance to make a major difference in reducing carbon emissions while serving as an economic engine for America's electrification. Through the technological expertise of Lithium Americas and the research capacity of University of Nevada, Reno, the Lithium Technical Development Center being commissioned is a shining example of the productive public-private partnerships that we are fostering across the state to power economic growth and responsible use of resources. This is a fantastic achievement for all involved that puts Nevada firmly at the center of the U.S.'s clean energy leadership.”
Steve Sisolack

Then-Governor of Nevada

The 30,000 ft2 facility was developed to demonstrate the chemical process designed for Thacker Pass in an integrated process testing facility. Lithium Americas and the University of Nevada, Reno are collaborating on this commercial work, while also educating the next generation of engineers and researchers who will play an essential role in curbing harmful carbon emissions.

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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 over 1,000 good-paying jobs during construction period,
  • Direct employment of 500 good-paying permanent positions during the 40-year operating period,
  • Several hundred indirect jobs with suppliers of products and services to support mine construction and operations,
  • Over $2 billion of capital investment, with every dollar spent on Thacker Pass, an estimated additional fifty cents will be spent elsewhere in communities, and
  • Over the 40 year project life cycle, forecasted tax payments are estimated at $8 billion (based on a price of US$24,000/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.

The Company is funding 100% of the design and construction cost of a new school in Orovada and is working with NDOT to improve road conditions.

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

In late 2021 and early 2022, we arranged for specialized cultural monitor training for 30 Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe members. Cultural assessment and mitigation work commenced in April 2022 and successfully concluded in mid-July 2022. Eleven Tribe members were hired to work in collaboration with Far Western Anthropological Research Group to ensure strict standards were followed, and Native American interests were respected during the archeological mitigation work.

As part of the Community Benefits Agreement the Company signed with the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe, the Company has agreed to build a community center for the Tribe that includes a daycare and greenhouse.

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.

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.

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Lithium Americas is committed to minimizing the expected environmental footprint of Thacker Pass by incorporating environmental best practices and going beyond what is required by regulatory standards. The Company is designing Thacker Pass to be a low-carbon, low water utilization lithium operation, and has been working with a leading international environmental engineering consulting firm to develop the expected operational carbon and water intensities.

Thacker Pass is 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 2022-23 Environmental, Social, Governance and Safety (ESG-S) 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 99 federal and state awards for environmental excellence in the last 45 years, with more than 60,000 acres of land reclaimed, 66 miles of streams reconstructed and more than 1,400 acres of wetlands restored. In addition, NACCO has planted more than 10 million trees.

“We believe in creating a positive work culture. We value two things over everything else – first, the importance that every employee can work safely each day and, second, that we complete our work in an environmentally responsible manner. This driving focus allows us to develop and maintain strong relationships with our employees and communities and follow through on our commitment to be a good corporate citizen.”

Justin Burggraff

President of Sawtooth Mining.

Thacker Pass' energy strategy relies significantly on the self-generation of carbon-free energy through waste heat capture at the proposed sulfuric acid plant (“SAP”). This is expected to generate approximately 45 MW of electricity annually during Phase 1 and an additional 45 MW in Phase 2, based on current feasibility study planning work. Benefits of the co-located SAP include a reduction of Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emission intensity per tonne of lithium carbonate produced and eliminating the need to truck sulfuric acid to site, which should reduce the number of transports to site by approximately two-thirds (Scope 3). As a result, the projected Scope 1 and 2 emission intensity for Thacker Pass is expected to be comparable to South American-based lithium brine operations and substantially lower than Australian-based spodumene operations.

Our priority is to sustainably manage water resources by limiting its use and safeguarding its quality. Thacker Pass is being designed for low-water consumption, heavily relying on water recycling to meet its needs. We are designing the operation as a Zero Liquid Discharge facility, which ensures there will be no discharge of industrial wastewater into the environment. This is an extensive commitment because it means all water that is filtered from tailings must be evaporated or recycled for reuse within the site's production process. Our estimated annual well-water withdrawal for Phase 1 is 3.5 million m3, and any water drawn will be reused and recycled an average of 7 times within the production process (based on current feasibility study planning work).

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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.

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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.

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In March 2023, the Company commenced construction on the Thacker Pass Project following the receipt of notice to proceed from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Additionally, Contracts for major earthworks have been awarded with activities expected to commence in the second half of 2023.

In January 2023, Lithium Americas awarded the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction Management (EPCM) contract for the construction of the Thacker Pass project to Bechtel, a trusted industry-leading firm that has built more than 25,000 projects for industries and governments in 160 countries on all seven continents. By working closely together, Lithium Americas can leverage Bechtel's world class team, a suite of seamless execution systems, global logistics and innovative construction strategies. Bechtel will be fully integrating into the owner's team and will be responsible for engineering, procurement and execution planning services, along with overall project management.

On February 16, 2023, Lithium Americas received General Motors' Tranche 1 of $320 million, of its total $650 million investment. Proceeds from GM's investment are to be used to accelerate the development of Thacker Pass. Tranche 2 is subject to a number of conditions and approvals, including the Company securing sufficient funding to complete the development of Phase 1 of Thacker Pass.

Lithium Americas continues to pursue a commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, which will help scale lithium production at Thacker Pass to support production of nearly one million EVs annually.

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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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