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BLM approves lithium exploration project south of Kingman

The city of Kingman is in rural northwest Arizona.
Jackie Hai
The city of Kingman is in rural northwest Arizona.

Federal officials have approved a lithium mine exploration project south of Kingman after working with area tribes to protect a sacred site in the region.

The Bureau of Land Management approval allows Big Sandy Inc. to drill and test up to 131 holes across roughly 21 acres of BLM-managed public land near Wikieup for viability.

The approval comes after several comment periods and the resulting feedback.

Plans were revised after the Hualapai Tribe expressed its concern that a nearby groundwater well near a sacred site would be used.

"The proponent has also committed to providing the opportunity for the Hualapai tribe and other descendant tribal communities to monitor ground disturbing on site," said BLM Kingman field office manager Amanda Dodson.

Instead, water will be trucked to the site. If the site is deemed viable, Big Sandy Inc. will be required to go through the National Environmental Policy Act, which includes further tribal consultation.

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.
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