The Trump administration delayed a decision Wednesday on the construction of a smelters, copper mining, glass manufacturing and steel processing facility in a sprawling desert community north of Las Vegas.
The decision by the Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Energy is a significant blow to an area that has been touted as a key battleground in the 2016 presidential election and where Trump has repeatedly pledged to build a border wall and other border security measures.
The Trump administration said the decision would be made in coming weeks.
In a statement, the administration called the smelting facility an integral part of a strategic plan to modernize the nation’s energy supply and industrial base.
The smeltering facility was to be built on about 1.4 million acres along the southern edge of the San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge, located in the desert northeast of Las Pinos, and will contribute to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s effort to revitalize the region.
The project will also serve as a testbed for new technologies, including solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal heat pumps, and hydropower, the statement said.
The project is expected to cost about $1.2 billion, according to a March 10 filing by the U,S.
The filing said the Army has awarded contracts totaling $6.1 billion to three companies that have been working on the project: Tinker Construct, a company based in Nevada, and Solar Energy Corporation, based in California.
The company has received $1 billion in federal funds and a loan guarantee from the U.,S.
Solar Energy Corporation is owned by SolarCity, a privately held company that was founded by Elon Musk.
SolarCity’s founder, Lyndon Rive, is also chairman of SolarCity and serves as a director on the board of Tesla Motors.
Musk and his son, Jeff, are also major investors in SolarCity.
The announcement of the delay comes just days after Trump’s administration proposed to cut off payments to a local government that runs the Smelter and Metal Works, which will be located near the site of a proposed solar power plant.
Trump’s announcement also sparked protests at a community center where the proposed plant is being built.
The Army Corps had initially announced in May that the project was in the final stages of environmental reviews.
However, it later amended its statement to say that it would not be completed until 2019.