Vanadium, a metal commonly used to strengthen steel and titanium, may end up getting mined in Nevada.

The element is fairly common throughout the earth, and has been listed by the U.S. Department of the Interior as critical to the nation’s economy. However, it has never been mined in the United States before, forcing the U.S. to rely on foreign sources of the metal — something that the U.S. aims to fix with the proposed Gibellini Vanadium Mine.

“The critical minerals are used to manufacture things like batteries and LCD screens in computers, alloys for the aerospace and defense industries, integrated circuits and optical devices, medical imaging and research, and hundreds of other applications,” the BLM said in a release. “Without them, the nation’s economy would grind to a halt, and the technological edge maintained by the Armed Forces and Intelligence community would erode.”

The BLM announced on Tuesday that it has begun the scoping process for the Gibellini Vanadium Mine Project, which will be located at a site 27 miles southeast of Eureka. According to the release, the project would produce 10 million pounds of vanadium each year, along with “minor amounts of uranium.” This, the BLM says, would provide for about half of the demand for the metal in the U.S.

The open-pit mine is expected to be active for seven years, after which the Nevada Vanadium Company would be responsible for restore the land and closing the mine.

A decision on the project is expected within 12 months, though the public has 30 days to comment on the project about any possible issues with the proposed mine. Anyone who wishes to comment on the project can click here, or submit a written comment to:

BLM Battle Mountain District Office
50 Bastian Road
Battle Mountain, NV 89820

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