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Navajo Nation owned utility company to develop Big Sandy Lithium Project

The Navajo Transitional Energy Company has partnered with an Australian-owned mining company to develop a proposed open-pit lithium mining operation in western Arizona.

The Tribal-owned utility NTEC will create a plan to operate and manage everything from permitting requirements to final mine design and construction of the Big Sandy lithium project. The proposed mining site is near the community of Wikieup.

The Australian company Arizona Lithium Ltd has mining claims to over 6,000 acres on federal land set aside for the project. The mine will be relatively close in proximity to Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada and another major lithium battery producer near Phoenix.

Lithium is a critical finite mineral used in certain types of batteries that power everyday objects such as cell phones, computers and power tools.

In April of 2021, the Hualapai tribal council passed a resolution strongly objecting to the proposed mining claim area, citing devastating impacts to significant cultural and spiritual resources.