U.S. judge rules Lithium Americas may excavate Nevada mine site

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A U.S. federal judge has ruled Lithium Americas Corp may conduct excavation work at its Thacker Pass lithium mine site in Nevada, denying a request from environmentalists who said the digging could harm sage grouse and other wildlife.

Chief Judge Miranda Du of the federal court in Reno, Nevada, said late on Friday that the digging – needed to determine whether the land holds historical import for Native Americans – may proceed while she determines the broader question of whether former President Donald Trump’s administration erred when it approved the project in January.

Representatives for Vancouver, Canada-based Lithium Americas and the environmental group Western Watersheds Project could not immediately be reached for comment. (Reporting by Ernest Scheyder in Houston Editing by Matthew Lewis)