North America’s largest lithium mine is full steam ahead – it just got a $2.26B loan

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Great news for EVs: Lithium Nevada got the green light for a $2.26 billion loan from the US Department of Energy to finance a lithium carbonate processing plant.

Once the Thacker Pass mine and processing plant in Humboldt County are online, they will become North America’s largest source of lithium for EV batteries.

The Thacker Pass processing plant will produce around 40,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate annually for the use of EV lithium-ion batteries. That’s enough for up to 800,000 EVs. The project’s goal is to eventually produce 80,000 metric tons per year. 

Construction at the Thacker Pass mine site started in March 2023 after Lithium Nevada won a court case against ranchers, conservationists, and Indigenous communities. Once the loan closes, a three-year-long construction process will start.

If finalized, the loan will be offered through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program.

The massive project is expected to create around 1,800 jobs during construction and 360 jobs in operations.

General Motors is expected to be a long-term primary lithium carbonate buyer for the project. The automaker invested $650 million in Thacker Pass in 2023, making it the largest shareholder in Lithium Nevada’s parent company, Lithium Americas.

The DOE’s Loan Programs Office says in its Thacker Pass loan announcement that “developing this project will strengthen domestic battery supply chains and reduce reliance on unreliable foreign sources.”

The mine and processing plant are expected to be fully online in 2028.

Read more: Harvard develops a solid state battery that charges in minutes


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