ROVER METALS MAKES MOVES TOWARDS PUSHING THEIR LET'S GO LITHIUM PROJECT FORWARD
Announcements made last week indicate that Rover Metals intends to try to proceed with plans for their Let’s Go Lithium project near Ash Meadows. Communications from the company indicate that they are in the process of hiring consultants to assist with the drafting of a Plan of Operations now required by the BLM for the drilling project to proceed.
Despite the robust opposition they faced for this project this summer which led to their approval being revoked by the BLM, the company appears to believe there is still a path for them to get this mining operation approved through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process.
We remain ardently opposed to this project, and our coalition is actively monitoring the company’s activities while also exploring proactive strategies to safeguarding the refuge from this and other extractive projects. We continue to appeal to decision makers to take action to save Ash Meadows and all downstream resources, species, and communities from this imminent threat to their security.
Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to receive updates in the campaign to Save Ash Meadows, and follow us on social media. And also, please consider supporting the Amargosa Conservancy through a donation today. Your donation provides us with the resources we need to continue to lead in this fight to save Ash Meadows and our beloved Amargosa River watershed.
Rover Metals will need to submit a Plan of Operation and the project will need to go through an environmental review process should it move forward.
Though this campaign is not over, this decision marks a huge victory for our organization, our coalition, and for the communities of the Amargosa Basin!
SAVE ASH MEADOWS
FROM EXPLORATORY MINING
Ash Meadows, one of the most critical and vibrant biodiversity hotspots in the United States, is under threat. Join the Amargosa Conservancy in our fight to stop this reckless project.
A coalition of nonprofit organizations and community members are taking a stand against an exploratory mining project that presents a grave and direct threat to Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge near Amargosa Valley, NV.
A mining company called Rover Metals has notified the Bureau of Land Management of its plans to do exploratory drilling for lithium on public lands right up against the boundary of the refuge and within the Ash Meadows Area of Critical Environmental Concern. Exploration would consist of drilling holes at a depth of 250-300 feet where Amargosa River groundwater will be encountered.
Drilling will occur within a few hundred feet of springs in Ash Meadows. Potential impacts of drilling include:
● Impacts to nearby Fairbanks and Roger Springs, critical habitat for the endangered Ash Meadows Amargosa pupfish and Ash Meadows Speckled Dace
● Alteration of crucial groundwater flows, including the risk of dewatering through a puncture in the aquifer
● Impacts to rare plants and other sensitive species in the Ash Meadows ACEC
A hydrological analysis of the project area supports our concerns that drilling in such close proximity to the refuge could cause catastrophic impacts to nearby springs.
According to a research memorandum developed by hydrologist Andy Zdon at Roux, Inc., the drilling of boreholes to the proposed depth of 250-300 feet could cause a significant dewatering event if an uncontrollable artesian flow would be caused. An example of such an event can be found just 50 miles south of the proposed exploration area, at Borehole Spring near Tecopa, CA. Borehole Spring was artificially created by exploratory drilling in the 1960s gone awry, producing an uncontrollable flow that continues to cause drying of nearby springs to this day.
We are taking every action possible to prevent this reckless drilling from commencing.
The Amargosa Conservancy, along with 20 nonprofit organizations and Native American advocacy groups have drafted and submitted a letter to Secretary of the Interior Debra Haaland, BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning, and Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Martha Williams. In our letter, we urge the Department of Interior to conduct the following actions in light of this dangerous project:
— Initiate formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the potential impacts of the project;
— Require that Rover Metals file a Plan of Operations (POO) for the project;
— Conduct environmental review of the POO pursuant to NEPA, including an Environmental Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement, as appropriate
Based on information we have received, we believe Rover Metals may commence Phase 1 of drilling within a few weeks time, in late July or early August, 2023.
In response to this accelerated timeline, our organization has taken the unprecedented step of joining the Center for Biological Diversity in a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management.
While our organization has never participated in litigation, preferring to solve and prevent crises through collaborative approaches, we will do what we must to prevent undue and unnecessary harm from occurring to Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.
Read media coverage about our campaign and the lawsuit:
- Las Vegas Review Journal: Lawsuit seeks to block lithium drilling near Ash Meadows refuge
- Las Vegas Review Journal: A mining company is hunting for lithium — right on the edge of Ash Meadows
- Nevada Current: Amargosa Valley lithium proposal sparks lawsuit
- Courthouse News: Environmentalists sue over lithium mining in Nevada
- 90 Miles from Needles Podcast: “Save Ash Meadows!”
We need your help to stop this project from going forward. Use the form below to send a letter to leadership urging them not to allow this project to proceed.
Raise your voice and urge federal officials to save Ash Meadows from exploratory mining today:
The letter will be sent as follows:
Dear Secretary Haaland and Director Stone-Manning,
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, one of the most critical and vibrant biodiversity hotspots in the United States, is under threat.
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is a protected wildlife refuge located in Amargosa Valley, Nevada, directly east of Death Valley National Park and 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The refuge consists of a network of natural springs fed by the free-flowing Amargosa River. These springs act as oases in one of the hottest, driest places on Earth, providing critical habitat for more than 25 rare plants and animal species that exist nowhere else, 12 of which are protected under the Endangered Species Act as threatened or endangered.
A mining company called Rover Metals has notified the Bureau of Land Management of its plans to do exploratory drilling for lithium on public lands right up against the boundary of the refuge and the Ash Meadows Area of Critical Environmental Concern. Exploration would consist of drilling holes at a depth of 250-300 feet where Amargosa River groundwater will be encountered. Drilling will occur within a few hundred feet of springs in Ash Meadows. Potential impacts of drilling include:
Impacts to nearby Fairbanks and Roger Springs, critical habitat for the endangered Ash Meadows amargosa pupfish and Ash Meadows speckled dace
Alteration of crucial groundwater flows, including the risk of dewatering through a puncture in the aquifer
Impacts to rare plants and other sensitive species in the Ash Meadows ACEC
[Your personal concerns or connection to Ash Meadows will go here!]
For these reasons, we find the exploratory drilling proposed by Rover Metals to be inappropriate and ill-suited to the public’s interest in supporting wildlife and conservation values. Therefore, we are calling on the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management to place a moratorium on all exploration and extraction activities in areas with known hydrological and ecological connectivity to Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.
And please, consider donating to the Amargosa Conservancy today. Your support empowers us to lead the fight against this project and other threats to lands, waters, wildlife, and people of the Amargosa Basin.
Be advised: the use of aerial drones is prohibited within Ash Meadows NWR. Please follow all applicable regulations when operating aerial drones.