Lithium Americas has secured the final key state-level permits from the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) for its Thacker Pass lithium project in Humboldt County, Nevada, US.

The water pollution control permit, mine reclamation permit and class II air quality operating permit are the three final permits approved for the Thacker Pass project.

The permits have been approved after a 30-day public comment period and NDEP’s review of extensive input from the public.

NDEP carried out broad reviews of the mine site plan and verified the air models and calculations for the class II air quality operating permit.

The regulator has also evaluated needed bonding for land disturbance and reclamation under the mining reclamation permit.

In addition, the regulator assessed authorised mine operations and ore processing activities, including setting monitoring and reporting requirements, under the pollution control permit.

Lithium Americas president and CEO Jonathan Evans said: “With the final key state environmental permits in hand, Lithium Americas can begin to advance Thacker Pass towards construction.

“Thacker Pass provides an opportunity to enable a US-based battery supply chain for the growing electric vehicle market.

“Our commitment to developing Thacker Pass in the most environmentally responsible way is demonstrated from over a decade of conducting the necessary planning, design and engagement.”

Located at the southern end of the McDermitt Caldera, the Thacker Pass is said to be developed as an open-pit mining operation using conventional continuous mining equipment.

Recent drilling at the project suggested that the lithium mineralisation is considerable across the Caldera.

The company said that lithium-rich clays are expected to be in the range from a few metres up to 90m in the project area.

In October last year, Lithium Americas announced an increase in mineral resource estimate to 13.7 million tonnes (Mt) of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) for its Thacker Pass lithium project.