In the news over the last couple of days is a story about GM building a battery manufacturing facility adjacent to its Spring Hill (Nashville area) Tennessee assembly plant. One might imagine lithium can be supplied in part from a new surface mine in the latter stages of permitting and development in the NC "Tin-Spodumene Belt" around 50 miles west of Charlotte, a mineralized trend where I cut my exploration teeth prospecting for gold in the late 1970s, and where a latter-day Appalachian State geology graduate leads the exploration and development team at the new prospect.
The same story mentioned Tesla's vertical integration of battery production, something which GM acknowledges they're duplicating. Both Tesla and GM are expected to need batteries from other manufacturers, however.
With global demand for lithium for battery manufacture, it seems to this old mining geologist that development and completion of any world-class lithium orebody on public land in the Lower 48 is inevitable. And Thacker Pass is, by every description I've read about in the mining professional literature, a world-class orebody.
That same literature, and P/R materials released by the mining company itself, show the planned development of a 1,000 acre open pit as much as 400' deep at the highwall. Seems to be planned as a deep cut into the flank of the valley. I have little doubt that my personal opinion is not shared by all, but I see no inherent faults within a plan to mine lithium on 1,000 acres of Nevada's nearly 71 million acres of surface area. My own personal assumption is that lithium will be produced somewhere in the Lower 48, so the hardrock target here in NC and the lithium-in-soft clay target in NV are as good, or no worse, of locations to produce it as any others are.