Tribe, Ranchers Say Proposed Lithium Mine in Wikieup Will ‘Ruin’ Their Water [Dispatches from Thacker Pass]

This article originally appeared on the Protect Thacker Pass Blog.

Featured image: Photo of Damon Clarke, chairman of the Hualapai Tribe by Josh Kelety


Thacker Pass gets a mention in this article in the Phoenix New Times about another proposed lithium mine in Arizona, one that would use the same sulfuric acid leaching process that the Thacker Pass lithium mine would use. It’s also yet another mine threatening the water and land of indigenous people.

“The brewing tension surrounding the project in Wikieup represents a broader fight over lithium mining that is taking place in other states. Increasing use of electric cars and renewable energy has caused demand for lithium to soar, with projections for even more needed in the near future. But some observers are raising red flags, like in Wikieup, about the potential harmful environmental impacts of lithium mines.”

In this case the mining company is Hawkstone Mining, another foreign mining company (Australian, like Jindalee, the mining company that wants to mine lithium just across the OR border from Thacker Pass).

As members of the Hualapai Tribe noted, the mining would disturb their cultural sites (just like the Thacker Pass mine would disturb the cultural sites of the Paiute Shoshone people), and could use up or contaminate ground water in a state in the middle of extraordinary drought.

“There is no water in the state of Arizona. Everyone is fighting for water. Here, in this area, it’s arid and there’s not a lot of water. Whatever water there is here has already been taken by farming and ranching. To allow a big industry to come in that’s going to use tons of water and ruin our water system … then it’s a big problem. This place can’t support something that uses a lot of water, whether it’s lithium or not. We’re all in support of changing our consumption of fossil fuels. But at the cost of the environment just to get that for more cellphones and whatever else, it’s a problem.”
— Hualapai Tribe Councilmember Richard Powskey

Peehee mm’huh / Thacker Pass is a special, unique and wonderful place. AND our effort at Thacker Pass is representative of a growing struggle throughout the American West as mining companies ramp up to meet projected lithium demand for EV batteries and energy storage and an ever-increasing number of devices.

As we said when we began this fight: this is just the beginning. We take a stand at Peehee mm’huh for all the land and water that may otherwise be stolen for lithium for cars and gadgets and technology that we do not “need” to live well on this beautiful Earth.

Join us to #ProtectThackerPass and all the other lands under threat from mining.

For more on the Protect Thacker Pass campaign

#ProtectThackerPass #NativeLivesMatter #NativeLandsMatter

3 thoughts on “Tribe, Ranchers Say Proposed Lithium Mine in Wikieup Will ‘Ruin’ Their Water [Dispatches from Thacker Pass]”

  1. Why are ranchers mentioned in the headline? They’re not mentioned in the article, but even more important, they’re part of the problem. DGR shouldn’t be promoting one great harm (ranching) in order to stop another great harm (mining). Nothing in the western U.S. has caused as much environmental and ecological harm as ranching, and I really wish DGR would recognize this and start writing about it.

    1. Cattle grazing on Thacker Pass will do less damage than a strip-mine on that land. I have been there, the cattle are on the land now and the place is still beautiful. If this lithium mine goes in, it will cause irreparable damage to this sacred land. Defend the Sacred. Help Atsa koodakuh wyh Nuwu protect Peehee mu’huh!

      1. That’s totally false about the land being in good shape with cattle on it. Grazing has done so much damage because cattle are everywhere, not necessarily because it’s the worst harm per se. I agree that a mine can do a lot more damage than cattle depending on the mine, but you obviously don’t know or understand the great harm that cattle do to arid land if you make statements like the one you made. I suggest reading Sacred Cows at the Public Trough by George Wuerthner (who has posted articles here) if you truly want to understand this issue.

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