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Daranda Hinkey, a member of the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe, opposes the Thacker Pass project. 

Daranda Hinkey, a member of the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe, opposes the Thacker Pass project. 

Photographer: Daniel Moore
Green
New Energy

The Race for US Lithium Hinges on a Fight Over a Nevada Mine

As the price of the metal — a critical battery component — soars, tribal members, ranchers and activists in Nevada want to block a mine some see as an “environmental nightmare.” 

The high-desert mountain pass overlooking alfalfa fields and RV parks doesn’t look like a battleground that will shape the country’s clean energy future.

But when the rock samples here are pulverized, pulled apart and mixed with chemicals, they yield a metal increasingly seen as white gold: lithium, a critical ingredient for batteries used in electric vehicles, solar energy storage, and consumer electronics.