April 14, 2024

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North America's largest lithium mine is going full steam ahead, having just secured a $2.26 billion loan

North America's largest lithium mine is going full steam ahead, having just secured a $2.26 billion loan

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

Once operational, the Thacker Pass mine and processing plant in Humboldt County will become North America's largest source of lithium for electric vehicle batteries.

The Thacker Pass processing plant will produce approximately 40,000 tons of lithium carbonate per year for use in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. This is enough for up to 800,000 EVs. The project's goal is to eventually produce 80,000 metric tons per year.

Construction on the Thacker Pass mine site began in March 2023 after Lithium Nevada won a lawsuit against ranchers, environmentalists and indigenous communities. Once the loan closes, the three-year construction process will begin.

If completed, the loan will be provided through advanced technology vehicle manufacturing (I agree) Loan program.

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

GM is expected to be the main buyer of lithium carbonate for the project in the long term. The automaker invested $650 million in Thacker Pass in 2023, making it the largest shareholder in Lithium Nevada's parent company, Lithium Americas.

“Development of this project will strengthen domestic battery supply chains and reduce reliance on unreliable foreign sources,” DOE's Office of Loan Programs says in the Thacker Pass loan announcement.

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

Read more: Harvard University has developed a solid-state battery that charges within minutes


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