NEVADA – The growth of Tesla and electric automobiles is creating additional manufacturing and mining employment in Nevada.
Our technological lifeline depends on lithium, the primary component of batteries. Nevada is the country’s sole state that mines for the mineral.
“What you’re witnessing right now in Nevada is approximately a decade’s worth of labor starting to bear fruit,” Nevada Mining Association President Tyre Gray said.
Nevada now has one working lithium mine, but two more could open in rural areas over the next five years. This includes the Ioneer mine, which just received a $700 million conditional loan from the US Energy Department.
“Lithium is going to be the method we power the green future that we all want,” Gray said.
“Whether it’s completing the lithium loop, unlocking innovation and investment in logistics, entertainment, science and technology, or embracing entrepreneurship,” Governor Joe Lombardo said in his first State of the State address Monday night.
Lombardo stated that he was excited to join Elon Musk and Tesla when they announced plans to create a new $3.5 billion advanced manufacturing facility.
The announcement was confirmed by Tesla. They intend to expand their gigafactory in Sparks, which they claim generates enough battery cells for 500,000 vehicles per year.
One new facility will focus on energy cells, while the other will be the first large-scale factory for semi-truck manufacturing.
“Having a domestic supply chain of lithium, especially with the Tesla gigafactory, simply makes sense,” Gray added.
Gray believes that many people’s perceptions about mining are antiquated and compares it to a high-tech sector.
“Whether you have a GED or a PHD, we have a position for you in mining that pays well,” Gray stated.
The sector is aiming to fill positions as soon as possible. He stated that approximately 2,000 roles are now available. They are mostly in rural areas of the state, but the association says it is actively looking for talent in the Las Vegas valley.
Researchers from UNLV’s business school discovered that the lithium industry employs around 9,000 people in Nevada. However, that figure is expected to increase by 2030.
FOX5 went to Lithion, a battery manufacturing company in Henderson, last year. It, like the majority of battery companies, is actively hiring and expanding.
“The funny thing about the battery market is that it’s so new that it’s tough to hire somebody with experience in the battery industry,” said Nhan Thai, Lithion’s production manager. “As a result, we’re happy to train any person who is eager to learn.”
Gray stated that they are trying to expand mining of other minerals in the state as well. Copper, silver, and gold are examples. It’s all part of an effort to fulfill Nevada’s and the rest of the country’s expanding energy demands.
Credits: Fox 5 Vegas
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