“Mine Consultant Agreed Nevada Plant In Danger”

“RENO, Nev. — A botanist hired by a company planning to mine one of the most promising deposits of lithium in the world believes a rare desert wildflower at the Nevada site should be protected under the Endangered Species Act, a move that new documents show could jeopardize the project.

The unusually candid disclosure is included in more than 500 pages of emails obtained by conservationists and reviewed by The Associated Press regarding Ioneer Ltd.’s plans to dig near the only population of Theim’s buckwheat known to exist on earth.

Six months of communications between government scientists, Ioneer’s representatives and University of Nevada, Reno researchers studying the plant also show the director of UNR’s work — financed by Ioneer — repeatedly pushed back against company pressure to prematurely publicize early success of efforts to grow buckwheat seedlings in a campus greenhouse for replanting in the wild.”

Scott Sonner reports for the Associated Press August 4, 2020.