Rhyolite Ridge lithium/boron project, US – update

5th August 2022 By: Sheila Barradas - Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

Rhyolite Ridge lithium/boron project, US – update

Name of the Project
Rhyolite Ridge lithium/boron project.

Nevada, in the US.

Project Owner/s

Project Description
A definitive feasibility study (DFS), completed in April 2020, has placed Rhyolite Ridge as the single-most attractive project for the production of lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide and boric acid globally.

The lithium and boron mineral resource is estimated at 146.5-million metric tonnes, including an ore reserve of 60-million metric tonnes, an increase in the reserve from the previous estimate of 280% over the 26-year life-of-mine (LoM).

The mine plan comprises almost entirely reserve material, with nearly 50% of that being proven ore reserves.

The resource remains open in three directions, allowing for a potential extension to the LoM.

The project will mine 2.5-million metric tons a year of ore over the LoM to produce about 20 600 t/y of lithium carbonate, or about 22 000 t/y of lithium hydroxide and 174 400 t/y of boric acid, on average.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
The project has an after-tax net present value, at an 8% real discount rate, of $1.265-billion and an unlevered internal rate of return of 20.8%, with a payback of 5.2 years from the start of first production.

Capital Expenditure
The DFS estimates that the total capital expenditure to complete the project will be $785-million, including an 8% contingency.

This represents an increase of $186-million from the PFS.

Planned Start/End Date
ioneer expects to start production in 2025.

Latest Developments
ioneer has signed a binding offtake agreement with Prime Planet Energy & Solutions (PPES), a joint venture between majors Toyota Motor Corporation and Panasonic Corporation.

Under the offtake agreement ioneer will supply PPES with 4 000 t/y of lithium carbonate from the Rhyolite Ridge project over a period of five years. The offtake agreement represents 19% of the yearly output at Rhyolite Ridge in the first five years of operation.

ioneer anticipates starting production in 2025 to support urgent requirements for battery materials in the US.

ioneer recently struck an offtake agreement with automotive major Ford Motor Company to deliver 7 000 t/y of lithium carbonate from the Rhyolite Ridge lithium/boron operation, over a five-year term.  

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Fluor (DFS).

Contact Details for Project Information
ioneer, tel +61 2 9922 5800.