Recently appointed co-chairs Karen Hogue (left) and Gina Amato (right) lead the Thacker Pass Concerned Citizens meeting on Thursday.
Recently appointed co-chairs Karen Hogue (left) and Gina Amato (right) lead the Thacker Pass Concerned Citizens meeting on Thursday.
The Thacker Pass Concerned Citizens Group (TPCC) has established a purpose statement and list of goals in preparation for the negotiation process with Lithium Nevada Corp. (LNC) for the proposed Thacker Pass lithium project in the McDermitt Caldera north of Winnemucca in Humboldt County. 

TPCC is made up of residents from the area including Orovada, McDermitt and Kings River and are concerned with the potential impacts of the proposed lithium mine and are committed to protecting the interests of those who live and work in the communities directly impacted by the Thacker Pass lithium project. 

At last Tuesday's meeting, the concerned citizens group voted to adopt the purpose statement presented by newly-appointed group co-chairs Karen Hogue and Gina Amato. Terry Crawforth was the former chairperson and resigned to be able to focus on other areas of the process. 

The purpose statement as adopted reads, “Thacker Pass Concerned Citizens (TPCC) is a committee comprised of local volunteer residents. The purpose of the committee is to protect the interest of those who live and work in the communities directly impacted by the Thacker Pass lithium project and to develop agreements with Lithium Nevada Corp. (LNC) to address concerns as they arise and explore potential opportunities.” 

In another statement, TPCC said it recognizes that committee members may not share a singular view on the lithium project and welcomes diverse opinions on the topic as the committee is meant to represent the local citizenry as a whole with a singular purpose to try and reach agreements that will benefit or satisfy both parties and a commitment to addressing all community concerns as new information is discovered. 

The goals of the TPCC group are outlined as follows: 

• Establish a baseline air quality, water quality and water quantity, rights, and usage.

• Ensure that there is independent, adequate and appropriate monitoring of air and water quality. 

• Establish oversight on water rights and usage. 

• Address transportation safety issues and needed upgrades to local infrastructure. 

• Provide a safe and proper environment to educate our school children. 

• Address any other Lithium Nevada activities that may affect quality of life for local communities. 

• Form a long-term community oversight committee to maintain and monitor any agreement between TPCC and Lithium Nevada, to uphold all terms of said agreement. 

As part of the negotiation preparation process, a negotiating committee has been established with residents of both Orovada and Kings River being nominated and selected. 

The negotiating team includes Kings River residents Terry Crawforth, Danica Lopez and Randy and Nancy Smith. Orovada residents of the negotiating team include Gina Amato, Karen Hogue, Ron Cerri, Clay Smith, Susan Frey and Don Brumley. 

Other concerned citizen committee members include Dick and Jean Williams, Edward Bartell, Kyle Negus, Loyd Sherburn, Martin and Wendy Muratore, Stacey Edwards and Angela Perez. 

Group members at the last meeting stressed the importance of ensuring the negotiations have recourse in the event Lithium Nevada does not follow through with agreed terms of construction and mitigation of risk to community members in the area. 

LNC Vice President of Government and Community Relations Tim Crowley told TPCC group members that North American Coal has been selected as the mining contractor for the project, to be branded as Sawtooth Mining. 

Crowley said NA Coal was selected as the mining contractor for the project because they have exceptional safety and reclamation records. 

The plan is for the lithium to be mined in a ‘block mining” style, where the open pit is established and mined to the bottom and then backfilled as the project moves laterally through the lithium deposit, a total current anticipated 46-year mine life, which Crowley said would be mined in approximate 7-year segments comparatively speaking to the mine life before being backfilled . 

Crowley said that NA Coal is willing to give a presentation to group members outlining the mining process and topographical changes anticipated throughout the mine life.

The TPCC group committee members will be meeting on June 15 in a closed meeting to begin establishing a list of concerns and demands to discuss with CDR and Lithium Nevada Corp. representatives. 

The next public meeting of the TPCC group will be held on June 22 in the evening, with plans to meet with the mediation group Collaborative Decision Resources (CDR) representatives who will outline the negotiation process and collect information to be used in recommendation to both the community and Lithium Nevada representatives. 

More information about the concerned citizens group can be found online at https://www.facebook.com/thackerpassconcernedcitizens. 

More information about Lithium Nevada Corporation can be found online at https://www.lithiumamericas.com/thacker-pass/.