Proposed Lithium Mine in Panamint Valley
The BLM is considering allowing exploratory drilling project for lithium in Panamint Valley. Battery Mineral Resources, headquartered in Toronto, Canada proposes to drill four holes 2,000 feet deep on Panamint Lake just outside of the Surprise Canyon Wilderness.
What Is Lithium?
Lithium is used in a variety of renewable energy technologies such as the batteries that power electric vehicles. As the country begins to transition towards a more renewable and green economy, we need lithium to power the batteries that power our tech. Currently, the majority of the world’s lithium is produced in Australia and South America. There is only one lithium mine in the United States and it is located in Silver Peak, Nevada.
While we undoubtedly need lithium to power a renewable future, lithium mines should be sited in the appropriate places–not in places like Panamint Valley which is adjacent to Death Valley National Park, heavily used by a variety of recreationists, and home to rare plant species and wildlife.
Why Should We Protect Panamint Valley?
Panamint Valley is a unique and special treasure. It is as deep as Death Valley and even more narrow. Surrounded by striking mountains, such as Telescope Peak, there are a number of recreational opportunities for those seeking adventure and solitude. Panamint Valley is the only remaining valley managed by the BLM Ridgecrest Field Office that is not developed. It was designated as California Desert National Conservation Land and is to be managed to protect its conservation and recreation values. Imagine seeing from a high peak in the Panamint Range neon colored pools of toxic solutions.
An aerial view of the Chemetall Foote Lithium Operation in Esmeralda County, Nevada provides an idea of the visual disturbance that a lithium mine poses to Panamint Valley. Photo by Doc Searls/Creative Commons.
What Can I Do?
The BLM has closed their 30-day public comment period. Subscribe to receive updates from Friends of the Inyo.
If you have any questions or concerns, please email Bryan Hatchell, Desert Lands Organizer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.