ioneer to supply motor giant Ford with lithium from Rhyolite Ridge under binding offtake deal
Emerging lithium-boron miner ioneer (ASX: INR) has collared a binding offtake agreement to supply motor giant Ford lithium from its Rhyolite Ridge project in Nevada.
The agreement is for an initial five-year term and Ford will purchase 7,000 tonnes a year of lithium from Rhyolite Ridge starting in 2025.
This represents about 34% of the planned lithium carbonate production from the mine over the first five years.
Ford will purchase the lithium on an agreed market-based price formula, and this will be adjusted quarterly.
ioneer executive chairman James Calaway said the agreement with Ford was a “significant milestone” for the company.
He said it highlights the mature stage of Rhyolite Ridge and its “ideal position” to serve the US domestic market with critical battery materials.
“Partnering with a recognised world-class automaker that exemplifies the spirit of American innovation is a testament to the quality of our lithium carbonate, and our commitment to the highest environmental standards and sustainability practices.”
ioneer is working towards making a final investment decision for Rhyolite Ridge by June next year and no later than December 2024.
Once in operation, about 20,600t of lithium carbonate/lithium hydroxide will be generated from the project along with about 174,400tpa of boric acid.
The project has an initial 26-year life and ioneer noted producing both lithium and boric acid allowed it to operate at the bottom of the global cost curve.
First production from the project is targeted for the second half of 2025.
Ford Model e vice president of EV industrialisation Lisa Drake said the giant looked forward to developing its relationship with ioneer.
“Helping unlock lithium in the US will help us support localised production of battery cells going forward and, ultimately, support our efforts to deliver EVs for millions of customers.”
Today’s deal with Ford follows an offtake agreement with EcoPro Group in February, which increased its lithium carbonate purchase commitment from 2,000tpa to 7,000tpa from Rhyolite Ridge.
Almost 70% of the planned lithium carbonate output from Rhyolite Ridge has now been tied up in these two offtake deals.