- The US Department of Energy has made a conditional commitment for a loan worth up to US$700 million (A$998.6 million) for Ioneer’s (INR) Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada
- Importantly, the proposed loan marks the first-ever by the DOE in aiding the processing component of a project where lithium is extracted and refined on site
- The US$700 million and the expected contribution made by the project’s 50 per cent owner, Sibanye-Stillwater, will fund a significant portion of the required preliminary expenditure
- Ioneer and Sibanye-Stillwater will continue engineering and drilling efforts at the project site while the loan awaits approvals and other conditions
- Ioneer shares are up 23.6 per cent, trading at 56.3 cents at 3:35 pm AEDT
Ioneer (INR) has finalised a term sheet and offer with the US Department of Energy for a US$700 million (A$998.6 million) loan to fund construction efforts at the Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada.
Under the finalised term sheet, the proposed loan lasts for 10 years and falls under the DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program initiated by Biden’s Administration, in a plan to invest in critical minerals.
The company commenced discussions over the loan back in February 2021, before applying in October that year, with the Loan Programs Office (LPO) completing its due diligence on both ioneer and the project.
Ioneer Managing Director Bernard Rowe said the loan is the result of ongoing discussions between all parties.
“The conditional commitment is the culmination of 23 months of discussions with and due diligence by the Loan Programs Office and it represents a significant milestone for Rhyolite Ridge,” he said.
Boasting the “most-advanced” underdeveloped US lithium project, the company aims to bolster the nation’s domestic EV supply chain.
The proposed loan marks the first-ever by the DOE in aiding the processing component of a project where lithium is extracted and refined on site.
US Department of Energy’s Director of Loan Programs Office Jigar Shah said the project is a significant step towards aiding nation’s renewable energy efforts.
“Rhyolite Ridge is a major step towards bolstering domestic lithium production for clean energy technologies, and LPO is excited to further develop an environmentally responsible US supply chain for critical materials,” he said.
Ioneer and Sibanye-Stillwater, who obtained a 50 per cent interest in the project back in September 2021, will continue engineering and drilling efforts at the site in the meantime.
Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman said the company’s expertise would offer ioneer with the support required to maximise on the world-class lithium project.
“Sibanye-Stillwater is well placed to be a supportive partner and add significant value to Rhyolite Ridge given its complementary global mining experience and expertise, including its US mining operational and project development expertise, hydrometallurgical expertise and deep relationships with automakers and automotive OEMs globally,” he said.
The final loan is subject to the approval of ioneer and Sibanye-Stillwater’s boards, receiving all relevant consents and the negotiation and execution of binding loan documents.
Ioneer shares were up 23.6 per cent, trading at 56.3 cents at 3:35 pm AEDT.