Another judge upheld the U.S. Court of Appeals’ more stringent performance of the century-and-a-half-old Mining Act, summarized in a new order that stops the operation of a metal mine in Nevada. The ruling could have ramifications for an enormous lithium mine near the Nevada-Oregon interstate border and other future mines on public lands across the American West.
U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks in Nevada revoked the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) approval for a planned molybdenum mine east of Rhineland in a case that has been ongoing since 2013.
Hicks quoted a court decision in an Arizona case last year that changed the government’s long-held standing that the Mining Act of 1872 gave the same privileges to mine and adjoining land to dispose of tailings and further waste.
That ruling precluded the construction of the copper mine because those rights did not automatically apply to adjacent public forest land where the company intended to dispose of waste material.
Environmentalists plan further action against molybdenum and lithium mines
Last month, Judge Miranda Du appealed the same ruling in a case that the BLM acted illegally when it approved a mine near the Nevada-Oregon border by Lithium Americas. But unlike Hicks or the pleas court, Du did not topple the BLM’s authorization of the project but pursued a new procedure from that administration for administering the permit.
Meanwhile, mine preparation work is still ongoing. Environmentalists have demanded the lithium mine decision to a San Francisco court planned to hear their arguments in June. Lithium produces batteries for electric vehicles, an essential part of the “clean energy” program.
Consequently, environmentalists consider the Hicks judging good and plan actions against other molybdenum and lithium mines.