Australia’s ioneer says U.S. gov’t loan application moves forward

Bulgaria's central bank raises capital buffer as loan risk grows
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(Reuters) – Australia-based Ioner Ltd said on Monday its application for a US government loan had advanced to the penultimate stage of review, bringing the company closer to fully financing a lithium-mine project in Nevada. Electric vehicle industry.

The company said the US Department of Energy found its application for funding through the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program “largely complete” and could move into a third of four stages. A final decision is expected within six months.

The Department of Energy is not immediately accessible outside of normal business hours.

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While it’s not guaranteed that Ionair will get the loan, the move is a vote of confidence in the company’s $850 million Rhyolette Ridge project — 220 miles (355 km) north of Las Vegas — despite opposition from environmentalists, regulators and others.

It also reflects the US government’s growing concern that without more investment, demand for the white metal could outpace supply and delay efforts to combat climate change.

South African mining company Sibanye Stillwater Ltd bought half of the Rhyolite Ridge project in September for $490 million. Ioneer hopes the US government will loan it 40% to 50% of the remaining project cost via the ATVM.

Ioner said the third phase of the ATVM loan review will include a more detailed analysis of the project’s economics by the government and outside experts.

The company said it expects to open the mine by 2024. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may list a rare flower at the Ionair mine site as endangered, a move that won’t necessarily prevent the project but may hinder the granting of permits.

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) and Nissan Motor Co Ltd are among the previous recipients of the ATVM loans. Piedmont Lithium Inc (PLL.O) has applied for ATVM loan financing for a lithium mine project in North Carolina.

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Reporting by Ernst Scheider Editing by Peter Kony

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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