RENO, Nev. (AP) — A federal judge has denied environmentalists' request for a court order temporarily blocking the government from digging trenches for archaeological surveys at a lithium mine planned near the Nevada-Oregon line.
The proposed Thacker Pass mine is home to the biggest known U.S. deposit of lithium.
U.S. District Judge Miranda Du said in a ruling late Friday in Reno that four conservation groups failed to prove the trenches across a total of one-quarter acre would cause irreparable harm to sage grouse habitat.
She plans to decide later this week whether a Nevada tribe can seek a similar injunction based on claims the digging would disturb sacred burial grounds.
Du emphasized she has placed the overall case on an expedited schedule and intends to issue a ruling on the merits by early next year. She noted any construction of the mine itself is unlikely to begin before the snow melts in the spring of 2022.