US Provides Record Loan for Lithium Americas Project in Nevada

(Bloomberg) — The Biden administration is set to announce plans to lend more than $2 billion to Lithium Americas Corp., which is developing the nation's largest lithium deposit in Nevada, according to a person familiar with the situation.

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The conditional loan commitment could come as soon as Thursday, said the person, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter.

The funding provided by the US Department of Energy to the company's subsidiary Lithium Nevada Corp will help finance the construction of a lithium carbonate processing plant, the source said. The project will be adjacent to Lithium Americas' $2.2 billion Thacker Pass mine, one of the country's most promising opportunities for producing the metal used in electric vehicle batteries, solar panels and wind turbines.

The Energy Department said it does not comment on loan applications, which are considered confidential business information. Lithium Americas did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The financing, which will be the largest loan ever to a mining company from the Department of Energy's Office of Loan Programs, comes amid increased efforts to help build domestic supplies of critical minerals. General Motors, which has invested $650 million in Lithium Americas, is expected to be the project's main long-term buyer.

The Office of Loan Programs has more than $400 billion to spend after an infusion of money from the climate law signed by President Joe Biden. Last year, it offered a conditional commitment of up to $700 million for Ioneer Ltd.'s Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron project, a potential supplier to Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp.

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Demand for lithium, which is also used to store networks and weapons, is expected to exceed current production by 2030. About 65% of the critical mineral is processed in China, although US lithium production is expected to increase 13-fold thanks to the exemptions. tax. and other subsidies provided in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Wednesday at a conference held by SAFE.

“We are struggling to restore every part of the supply chain in the United States or with our allies,” Granholm said.

-With assistance from Yvonne Yu Lee.

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