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NASA latest to oppose Nevada lithium mine, citing concerns over critical satellite calibrations


NASA is the latest entity to challenge a lithium mining project in Nevada. At the space agency’s request, U.S. land managers have withdrawn about 36 square miles of federal land from potential mineral exploration and mining at a desert site northeast of Las Vegas.

NASA officials say the unusually flat desert tract above the lithium deposit must be left undisturbed because the unique topography is used to calibrate specific measurements for hundreds of satellites orbiting overhead.

A Nevada congressman has introduced legislation opposing the removal of the tract as a potential lithium mining site.

The ancient lakebed could be a vast source of lithium, which is needed to produce cleaner electric energy and fight global warming. NASA says the land above the untapped lithium deposit in Nevada's Railroad Valley has been used for nearly three decades to get exact measurements needed to keep satellites and their applications functioning properly.