ENERGY MINERALS

Lithium Americas Corp receives key state permits for Thacker Pass

Lithium Americas Corp is ready to progress further towards production of its Thacker Pass lithium project in Nevada, US, following the issuance of final state-level permits.

Petra Witowski
Lithium Americas Corp receives key state permits for Thacker Pass

The company announced the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) had issued the key water-pollution control permit, mine-reclamation permit and class-two air-quality operating permit.

Lithium Americas' president and CEO Jonathan Evans said the company can now advance the project towards construction.

"Thacker Pass provides an opportunity to enable a US-based battery supply chain for the growing electric-vehicle market," he said. "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."

Permits for the Thacker Pass project in Humboldt Country, Nevada, were approved on Friday, February 25 following a 30-day public comment period and an extensive review of input from the public.

Canaccord Genuity Capital Markets analyst Katie Lachapelle said the announcement indicated there was support for the project from the NDEP and the local community, while recent federal updates also indicated a favourable ruling. 

The company was awaiting the completion of the federal Record of Decision (ROD) appeal process, which is due in the third quarter of this year. Although the company received the ROD for Thacker Pass in January 2021 from the Bureau of Land Management, claims to appeal the ROD issuance were filed against the bureau the following month.

"Given the time needed to review these documents, plus the court scheduling, the timing of the resolution has been delayed to Q3," Lachapelle said. "While this could delay the project further, we expect the appeal ruling to go in LAC's favour".

Lithium Americas is also focused on its lithium projects in Argentina, in addition to its Thacker Pass project in the United States. The Argentinian Cauchari-Olaroz project is nearing first production, while the Pastos Grandes project provides opportunity for regional growth.

On February 25, Lithium Americas Corp traded on the TSX at C$36.50/share, which was 5.3% higher on the day. Its shares have remained above the $30 mark since October last year.

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