Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, September 1, 2020


Patrick Donnelly, (702) 483-0449,

SEC Complaint Charges Misleading Claims by Australian Company Over Nevada Mine

LAS VEGAS— The Center for Biological Diversity filed a complaint with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today asserting that the Australian mining company Ioneer provided materially misleading statements to investors.

Ioneer is the company behind the proposed Rhyolite Ridge lithium mine in western Nevada. The mine will devastate the only population of Tiehm’s buckwheat, a rare wildflower the Center petitioned to protect under the Endangered Species Act in 2019.

Today’s complaint says Ioneer claimed in a quarterly report for investors in July that it planned to “be shovel ready” by the second quarter of 2021. But a permitting timeline spreadsheet obtained from the Bureau of Land Management indicates that permitting will not be complete until at least December 2021.

The mine has been a source of controversy. Earlier this year an agency whistleblower exposed potential violations of environmental-protection laws in permitting Ioneer’s mining activities.

The Bureau has not yet initiated scoping, a public-information-gathering process that signals the beginning of environmental review. Environmental impact statements for projects of the size, scope and complexity of the Rhyolite Ridge mine almost always take longer than a year to complete. According to the agency’s spreadsheet, it plans to begin scoping in January.

Ioneer’s proposed mine will also need approval from other state and federal agencies, including water-quality and reclamation permits from the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection and water-rights applications and change permits from the Nevada Division of Water Resources.

Ioneer also will need “take” permits from the Nevada Division of Forestry and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service if those agencies decide to protect Tiehm’s buckwheat under state and federal laws.

“Ioneer has chosen one of the most biologically sensitive locations in Nevada to site its Rhyolite Ridge mine,” said Donnelly. “Investors shouldn’t be deceived about the time involved for the extremely complicated permitting this mine will require.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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