The Moral Conundrum of Lithium Versus Wildflower

“The plant learned to grow there and, as far as anyone knew, only there. There were no competitors for that toxic soil. Until, that is, the lithium mine.”
Wired staff writer Gregory Barber, on Eriogonum tiehmii, or Tiehm’s buckwheat, a wildflower endemic to the lithium deposits of Rhyolite Ridge, Nevada, that the Ioneer mining company estimates could power 400,000 electric car batteries. The current dispute between miners and conservationists forces a moral equation, writes Barber: “What is the value of the mine versus the value of the plant?”

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