In this open letter to Governor Steve Sisolak and the Nevada Legislature, I urge the governor and lawmakers to expedite the licensing of lithium mines here in Nevada.
President Joe Biden has stated that he wants to bring the entire lithium production and electric car battery production cycle into the United States. It’s all about climate change and the tsunami of electric car and trucks about to hit the U.S. as it already has in China and Europe.
The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and 97% of climate scientists worldwide predict that, at the current greenhouse gas levels, our state and the entire Southwest will see decades of hotter, drier weather, even if the world attains the CO2 reduction goals set in the Paris Climate Agreement.
Expediting the mines will help save our environment, our ranching and agriculture industries, and our wildlife. And it will produce huge tax revenues and employ thousands of Nevadans in high paying jobs.
We have a unique opportunity in Nevada to increase employment by thousands of jobs and to increase state taxes on the mine sites and related sales and property taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars over the next 40 years. But we must expedite the creation of new mines and the processing of the ores. At present, we have one lithium mine at Silver Peak and two close to beginning construction on the Rhyolite Ridge (Loneer Mining) and Thacker Pass (Lithium Nevada Mining Company).
Jobs and tax revenue
I have interviewed key members of both mining companies. In summary: The total number of construction jobs to build those mines and their ore processing facilities is about 1,600 jobs for several years and total operational jobs are about 600 over about 40 years. The tax revenues will be in the millions every year.
The bottom line is that we will have millions in revenue for the state and lots of high paying jobs.
Both of the mines have a very low impact on the environment and use very little water. We already two local battery manufacturers, Panasonic at the Tesla Gigafactory. In addition, Dragonfly Energy in Reno can use the lithium hydroxide produced at both mining sites.
If we can crank up our total production, there will be more electric battery manufacturers moving to Nevada. And, there is already a lithium recycling company, American Battery Technology Company, operating in Fernley.
Long approval process
I also discovered that there are 11 other active lithium claims being explored throughout the state. The biggest hurdle for the two mines mentioned above and the potential new mines is the multi-year process now required to get the projects through state and federal licensing procedures.
For the benefit of all Nevadans, and especially the rural counties, I urge you to set up a state-level organization to expedite the licensing process. We have been the Silver State since 1864, but in just a few years Gov. Sisolak and Nevada’s lawmakers can change us into the Lithium State.
Our impact on curtailing global warming will be huge, and it will come with the accompanying benefits of additional high-paying jobs along with the substantial state, county, and local revenues flowing from the industry.
Dr. John Scire has a PhD in International Relations and an MBA in International Business Management, and has taught U.S. Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, Climate Change Policy and other courses for more than 25 years as an adjunct professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, and elsewhere. He also has 27 years of military experience, including 12 years in the Marine Corps as an active duty infantry officer, with service in Vietnam, and 15 years in the Army Reserve in psychological warfare units.