From The Guardian:
Three-quarters of all known deposits of lithium in America are found near tribal land, igniting fears that a decline in destructive fossil-fuel mining could simply be replaced by a new form of harmful extraction.
Plans for a major, controversial new lithium mine in northern Nevada – a 1,000-acre site called Thacker Pass – will "will turn what is left of my ancestral homelands into a sacrifice zone for electric car batteries", Shelley Harjo, a member of the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe, has warned, all still without meeting the burgeoning thirst for lithium.
Lithium demand is of course on the rise thanks to the mineral's role in battery stage and the ongoing global energy crisis. According to The Guardian, there's enough lithium at Silver Peak for 80,000 electric cars — that's not an insignificant contribution to decarbonization efforts! But there is some concern about the lithium battery production process, which involves massive water use and some higher emissions upfront. Even if it is ultimately a more environmentally-friendly option (assuming we can figure out better means of recycling or disposal), the threat of that resource extraction, particularly when the impact hits indigenous communities the hardest, is … well, not great, to say the least, as evidenced by the entirety of US history.
There's lithium in them thar hills – but fears grow over US 'white gold' boom [Oliver Milman / The Guardian]