Years of Research with Botanical Experts Create Scenario Where Mine and Tiehm’s Buckwheat Can Co-exist
The Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project is 100%-owned by ioneer USA Corporation, whose core mission is to develop a US-based source of environmentally and socially responsibly mined lithium and boron, two essential materials necessary for meaningful reductions in CO2 emissions.
By focusing entirely on the development and production of the materials necessary for a more sustainable future, ioneer hopes to help ensure the protection of all plant and animal species.
That long-term, big-picture goal doesn’t have to come at the expense of the flora and fauna found at the project area.
Years of research
ioneer has conducted targeted activities at the Rhyolite Ridge project area in accordance with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regulations to assess the mineral resources, as well as to complete multidisciplinary baseline studies. ioneer has spent over $50 million to conduct this work, a portion of which has already had a positive impact on the local economy.
One of these baseline studies defined the flora and fauna of the area. Amongst other species, this study had a focus on Tiehm’s buckwheat, a plant that was designated as a BLM sensitive species.
In 1985, Tiehm’s buckwheat was first identified and described in the project area.
Since 1994, the locations and characteristics of the populations of Tiehm’s buckwheat in the vicinity of the proposed project were mapped and described.
EM Strategies, a Nevada-based environmental consulting firm, completed preliminary flora and fauna studies at Rhyolite Ridge in 2011 on behalf of a company that explored the area prior to ioneer.
ioneer commenced exploration in 2016 and engaged EM Strategies as its environmental consultant to conduct further studies of Tiehm’s buckwheat.
Additional field surveys have been conducted since that time (including a recent survey in 2018-2019 by ioneer) to provide for an accounting of the distribution and characteristics of this buckwheat, as well as to secure data in order to establish temporal trends in its population and its spatial distribution.
The findings of these studies, including the recent surveys conducted by ioneer, are documented in a baseline biological report prepared by EM Strategies.
Engaging botanical experts
As an outgrowth of the baseline studies and in response to our understanding of the limited known extent of Tiehm’s buckwheat, ioneer retained the services of two botanical experts (Dr. Roger Rosentreter and Ms. Ann DeBolt) to augment the company’s biological team led by a senior Nevada-based botanist, Ms. Kris Kuyper with EM Strategies and Ms. Michelle Tucker of NewFields, to develop protection measures that will ensure the persistence of the plant in natural conditions. These specialists are well-respected within the botanical sciences and all are members of the Eriogonum Society, a professional association whose members have expertise in evaluating, propagating, and protecting various types of buckwheat.
No environmental paradox – a mine and Tiehm’s buckwheat can co-exist
Nevada’s economic health is dependent on its robust natural resources. Increased demand for critical minerals to combat global climate change and reduce carbon emissions requires an innovative response to the environmental stewardship of all resources. ioneer intends to meet this challenge at the Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project by minimizing potential impacts to Tiehm’s buckwheat associated with project development and ensuring the survival of this species.