Biden Administration Announces $700 Million Conditional Loan for Lithium Mine in Nevada

A mine that could become the sec­ond largest lithi­um mine in the U.S. received endorse­ment from the Biden admin­is­tra­tion this week.

The Depart­ment of Ener­gy will pro­vide min­ing com­pa­ny Ioneer with a con­di­tion­al loan of up to $700 mil­lion to devel­op the Rio Lightridge Lithi­um Boron Project in Esmer­al­da Coun­ty, Neva­da, accord­ing to an announce­ment report­ed by Bloomberg.

Once oper­a­tional, the plant is expect­ed to pro­duce enough lithi­um to pow­er approx­i­mate­ly 370,000 elec­tric vehi­cles annually.

Ioneer already has sup­ply deals with automak­ers such as Ford and Toy­ota, but lithi­um pro­duc­tion is like­ly to start in 2026.

The Biden admin­is­tra­tion pro­vid­ed fund­ing through the Depart­ment of Ener­gy’s Advanced Tech­nol­o­gy Auto­mo­bile Man­u­fac­tur­ing Loan Program.

In order to receive fund­ing, Ioneer must obtain all nec­es­sary per­mits from rel­e­vant state and fed­er­al agencies.

The Cen­ter for Bio­di­ver­si­ty oppos­es the project, cit­ing it as a threat to the region’s endan­gered wild­flower, the team buckwheat.

The U.S. Depart­ment of the Inte­ri­or has yet to approve it, for the same rea­son. The Depart­ment of Ener­gy announced that Ioneer has mod­i­fied plans for the site to avoid direct impact on the nuclear plant.

How­ev­er, it should be not­ed that extrac­tion of lithi­um requires a lot of water.

But the min­er­al is essen­tial to many of the tech­nolo­gies need­ed for the world to tran­si­tion to an emis­sions-free future. Fur­ther­more, lithi­um sup­ply is expect­ed to fall below glob­al demand in 2030.

That short­fall makes it dif­fi­cult to meet the Biden admin­is­tra­tion’s goal of hav­ing half the cars sold in the Unit­ed States elec­tric by the end of the decade.

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