In the last days of the Trump administration, the president approved a lithium mining operation at Thacker Pass, Nevada. The extremely remote site is located in North-Central Nevada near the Oregon border. If the plan proceeds the mine could produce one-quarter of the world’s lithium to be used for batteries in electric vehicles.
According to a report in The Nation, there are serious concerns about the environmental impact of this mining operation. This includes many of the usual items regarding a mining site including disturbing the water table, affecting rare native species, and burning approximately 11,000 gallons of diesel a day during construction.
While the environmental impact is huge and important, the article points to an even darker point of contention. Historians say Thacker Pass was the scene of a massacre of the Paiute tribe. On Sept 12th, 1865 reports show that a U.S. Calvary division attacked natives at Thacker Pass. According to reports, which are indeed a bit vague, it is believed that the Calvary massacred men, women, and children at this very location.
Activists, the native population, and even local ranchers are pushing back against this mining operation. Multiple lawsuits have been filed to block the construction of the site. This story could blow up in the coming months as it appears to be yet another incident where the native population might be stepped on in the name of progress.