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RENO, Nev. (AP) — A federal judge in Nevada has denied tribal leaders’ bid to temporarily block digging for an archaeological study required before construction can begin for a lithium mine.

The tribes say the project is planned on sacred land near the Oregon state line where their ancestors were massacred more than century ago.

U.S. District Judge Miranda Du refused their request late Friday for a preliminary injunction blocking the trenching at the site of the largest known lithium deposit in the U.S. Lithium is a key component in electric vehicle batteries.

Demand for the mineral is expected to triple over the next five years.