What could become the second lithium mine in the United States received support from the Biden administration this week. In a spotted by , the Department of Energy announced that it will provide mining company Ioneer with a conditional loan worth 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 for around 370,000 electric vehicles per year. 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 made the funding available through the Department of Energy . To secure the money, Ioneer must obtain all necessary permits from the relevant state and federal agencies. The spoke out against the project because of the risks it poses to an endangered species of wildflower in the region known as Tiehm buckwheat. The US Department of the Interior has yet to approve the project for the same reason. The Department of Energy said Ioneer had revised its plans for the site to avoid direct impacts to the plant. However, it should be noted that the extraction of lithium requires achieve.
Yet the mineral is essential to many of the technologies needed to transition the world to an emissions-free future. Additionally, lithium supply is expected to fall short of global demand by 2030. This gap will make it difficult for the Biden administration to meet its goal of ensuring that half of all cars sold in the United States by the end of the decade are electric vehicles.
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