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Massive Mining Operations Stalled by the Smallest of Flowers

On Behalf of | Nov 26, 2021 | Mining Litigation

Ioneer is the name of a mining company that is “derived from the combination of ion and pioneer.” According to their website, they have the goal of being “pioneers in producing the materials for a sustainable future.”

Currently, the company is looking at what is considered one of the most promising lithium deposits, not just in the United States, but the world. As electric vehicles become more popular, growing demand for that mineral is reaching unprecedented heights. Ioneer wants to capitalize on that expansion to have more clean energy transports expelling fewer carbon emissions on roads throughout the United States.

A Tiny Obstacle Causes Massive Delays

However, their pursuit is hampered by one small thing: a tiny flower that only exists in Central Nevada and requires a small patch of land to survive. The rare blossom is known as Tiehm’s buckwheat, and it is growing atop a deposit that could prevent a blossoming of mining activity in the area.

Preparing for the work would require clearing out much of the area. Before moving forward, Ioneer looked into possibly moving the plants, recruiting researchers from the University of Nevada, Reno, to explore the possibility. In public comments, they vowed to protect and expand the buckwheat.

Not swayed by the promises, opponents have lined up to stop the effort. The Center for Biological Diversity has already petitioned for the rare plant to be included in the Endangered Species Act. They admit that Tiehm’s buckwheat is a very small plant. However, it is a substantial presence paramount to biodiversity, something that the detractors claim threaten the human race with “cascading results” on the global systems.”

For now, arguments, hyperbolic and otherwise, will continue between the warring factions. The Department of Fish and Wildlife will spend one year reviewing the plant apparently “facing imminent extinction” to see if Tiehm’s buckwheat qualifies for inclusion as an endangered species.

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