Emerging lithium-boron miner ioneer (ASX: INR) has announced its March quarter activities report (Q3 FY2022), which reveals highlights of an increased offtake agreement with EcoPro and inking a memorandum of understanding with Nevada-based NexTech Batteries.
ioneer owns the Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project located in the US state of Nevada. Rhyolite Ridge is the only lithium-boron deposit in North America and one of only two such deposits in the world.
ioneer managing director Bernard Rowe says the March quarter has shown great progression for the company.
“We are encouraged by the pace of progress, the strong inbound enquiry from customers and maturing offtake negotiations, the clearer path to publishing of the notice of intent and start to the NEPA process,” he said.
“We anticipate a busy period of news flow over the balance of this year as real strides are made on each of the key workstreams as we near a final investment decision aligned to full project permitting.”
Key contributors to successful quarter
During Q3 FY2022, ioneer increased its offtake agreement with EcoPro, the South Korean chemicals company, to 7,000tpa from 2,000tpa of lithium carbonate from ioneer’s Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project.
In March, ioneer announced a MoU with NexTech batteries, a lithium sulphur battery tech company.
Under the deal, NexTech batteries is looking to source lithium carbonate and/or lithium hydroxide from Rhyolite Ridge.
NexTech will use the chemicals at its Carson City facility to manufacture next generation solid-state batteries set to revolutionise the automotive industry, renewable energy and grid storage applications.
ioneer noted the potential for a longer-term supply agreement to NextTech will be discussed once Rhyolite Ridge is operational.
Other quarterly highlights
Also, during the period, ioneer continued to progress in its submission documents for a secondary listing of ioneer shares in the US.
The strategy behind the listing is to increase the company’s profile in the North American market as it establishes Rhyolite Ridge a critical asset for US lithium supply security.
Additionally, US investors have demonstrated an increasing interest in electrification and the materials and technologies assisting this transition away from fossil fuels.
ioneer hopes the listing will become official in the second quarter of 2022.
As part of the development progress for Rhyolite Ridge, ioneer awarded a major engineering and supply contract to ABB Inc in February.