U.S. Department of Energy extended credit for company’s Nevada plant

Lithium company Ioneer said it has received a conditional loan commitment of up to $700 million from the Department of Energy as the U.S. seeks to develop new material supply chains that are critical to the energy transition.

Ioneer is developing the Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Esmeralda County, Nevada. When the plant is operating at full capacity, it will produce enough lithium to produce 400,000 electric cars and also produce boron, the company said.

The plant is not yet up and running, but Ioneer already has supply agreements with Ford and Toyota. Some experts believe there simply won’t be enough lithium to meet the boom in demand caused by electric cars, which means automakers are increasingly entering into agreements with lithium manufacturers to secure supplies.

Ioneer’s loan from the Department of Energy is subject to several conditions, including the company getting all the necessary approvals. In December, the company said it was in the final stages of the federal permitting process.

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