TONOPAH – Ioneer USA Corp. applied for a new water pollution control permit from the state for its Rhyolite Ridge lithium and born mining project in Esmeralda County, and the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection has opened a public comment period.
The Rhyolite Ridge Project, approximately 40 miles southwest of Tonopah, consists of an open pit lithium and boron mine, an overburden storage facility, a processing plant, a spent ore storage facility and a sulfuric acid plant, according to an NDEP project factsheet.
As proposed, the project has an operating life of six to seven years including a two-year construction period. The total mine life including reclamation and closure goes up to 12 years. It is located on Bureau of Land Management land.
Ioneer, which has a 100% interest in the project, states on its website that the lithium and boron can be readily leached from the rock using dilute sulphuric acid.
The Rhyolite Ridge Project resource is estimated at more than 146 million metric tons.
Lithium is increasing in demand worldwide with the rising popularity of electric vehicles and other technology.
The NDEP administrator has made the tentative decision to issue the new permit, according to the notice of proposed action. If the feedback received during the public notice period indicate a significant degree of public interest, the administrator will schedule a public hearing.
Comments can be submitted on the proposed permit by April 30 to:
Nevada Division of Environmental Protection
Bureau of Mining Regulation and Reclamation
901 S. Stewart Street, Suite 4001
Carson City, NV 89701-5249
The draft permit and other documents are available at www.ndep.nv.gov/posts/category/land.