What could become only the second lithium mine in the US received support from the Biden administration this week. in a (n discovered by , the Department of Energy announced that it will provide mining company Ioneer with a conditional loan of up to $700 million to develop the Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Esmeralda County, Nevada. Once operational, the mine is expected to produce enough lithium annually for about 370,000 electric vehicles. Ioneer already has supply deals with automakers like Ford and Toyota, though the project likely won’t start producing lithium until 2026.
The Biden administration provided the funds through the Department of Energy . To secure the money, Ioneer must obtain all necessary approvals from the appropriate state and federal agencies. the has opposed the project because of the risks it poses to an endangered wildflower species in the area known as Tiehm’s Buckwheat. The US Department of the Interior has yet to bless the project for the same reason. The Department of Energy said Ioneer revised its plans for the site to avoid direct impacts on the facility. However, it is worth noting that lithium mining must be done.
Still, the mineral is essential to many of the technologies needed to transition the world to a zero-emission future. Additionally, lithium supply is expected to lag global demand through 2030. That gap will make it harder for the Biden administration to meet its goal of ensuring that half of all cars sold in the US are electric by the end of the decade.
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