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Why Lithium Americas Stock Soared Today

By Howard Smith - Jan 19, 2021 at 1:50PM

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One of the company's key lithium extraction projects has passed an important milestone.

What happened

Shares of Lithium Americas (LAC -2.19%) jumped by 40% early on Tuesday, before settling back to a gain of 29.7% as of 1:42 p.m. EST. 

The stock has now more than doubled since the start of 2021, after an almost 300% jump in 2020

LAC Chart

LAC data by YCharts

So what

News from Friday helped spark Tuesday's move. The company announced the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has issued the Record of Decision for the company's Thacker Pass lithium project following completion of the National Environmental Policy Act process. "With the federal permitting process complete, our focus is on advancing the financing process including discussions with potential strategic partners," Lithium Americas president and CEO Jon Evans said in a statement. 

site of Lithium Americas Thacker Pass open pit mining project in Nevada

Site of Thacker Pass mining project in Nevada. Image source: Lithium Americas.

Now what

The next step for the Thacker Pass project is to acquire state permits and water rights transfers. The company expects to hear later this year whether its applications for those were approved. The company's project in Nevada is one of two that the Canadian lithium miner is developing, and the only one where it has 100% ownership. The other, under construction in Argentina, received its environmental permits in 2012. 

The company expects lithium production to begin at the Nevada site in the third quarter of 2022. Both projects are expected to provide battery-quality lithium carbonate for the electric-vehicle industry. While progress on the permitting process is welcome news, investors should realize that investments in this company should remain in the speculative portion of their portfolios. 

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