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Questions have surfaced of whether the Australian-listed lithium miner Ioneer could be on the radar of resource industry giant Rio Tinto.


Ioneer has a market value of $236 million and some believe it could be too small for Rio, which trades with a $38.5 billion market value. But Rio has a ventures unit that examines smaller opportunities and so the possibility should not be discounted.


Ioneer is developing the Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron project in Nevada, not far from Rioâââہ¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¾Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¢s borates business in Boron, California.


The companyâââہ¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¾Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¢s boron supplies are understood to be depleting and Rio has milestones it needs to achieve. The chemical has various modern uses, ranging from computer screens to fertilisers to magnets for wind turbines.


Ioneer counts former Rio energy and minerals chief executive Alan Davies among its directors. Rio terminated Mr Daviesâââہ¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¾Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¢s contract in 2016 following an internal inquiry in 2011 into contractual arrangements with a consultant who provided advisory services on the Simandou project in Guinea.

- an examination of the declining share price over the last year or so indicates the company isn't making a go of it.

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  • 5 months later...
An Australian mining company has agreed to a moratorium on new activities at a planned lithium mine in Nevada in exchange for conservationists dropping a lawsuit to protect a rare desert wildflower they say doesnâââہ¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¾Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¢t exist anywhere else in the world.


The Centre for Biological Diversity filed notice in US District Court in Las Vegas on Friday that it was voluntarily withdrawing its lawsuit against the Trump administration seeking a ban on all drilling and road building at the site on federal land as a result of the newly-reached agreement with Ioneer USA Corp, owned by ASX-listed Ioneer.


The centre filed an emergency petition with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in October to list Tiehmâââہ¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¾Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¢s buckwheat as an endangered species. The lawsuit filed weeks later accused the Bureau of Land Management of illegally dividing the mining operations into two separate projects so as to bypass its own regulations requiring a formal environmental review and public comment on any land disturbances larger than two hectares

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  • 1 year later...

bit of argy bargy in June last year

The company has come out with a bit of a clarification in response to story in the AFR


Ioneer wishes to provide "more clarity around the process and the current status of the discussions with potential strategic partners. As disclosed in the Company’s DFS, published 30 April 2020, ioneer intends to fund its Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project with various sources of capital including strategic partnering, debt and equity. It is currently in advanced discussions with a wide range of strategic players who could become part of its funding solution.

These discussions are progressing well, despite the current conditions, which is a strong reflection of the significant value that ioneer is positioned to deliver over the life of the Project.

However, ioneer reiterates that this process is ongoing, and while discussions are advanced, a formal strategic partnering process has not commenced as reported."


While StreetTalk said INR had

...formalised the data room and diligence materials for a handful of interested parties which have already been whittled down from a longer list. Goldman is running the process out of its New York office and is understood to have approached Asian manufacturers keen to gain a foothold in the United States such as LG and Panasonic, as well as global chemical companies, ESG companies, and financial investors.


Ioneer unveiled a definitive feasibility study for its Rhyolite Ridge project to the market in April, which revealed a total capital expenditure of $US785 million ($1.15 billion) was required to complete the project, including an 8 per cent contingency. Enter the need for a strategic partner.

When the September Quarterly came out, the financials revealed expected continuing losses while the Activities Report detailed the progress the company has made with its Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project in Nevada, USA. Also a partnership with Caterpiller.

SP lifted from 10c a share, and is now 35c.. With the focus on the 100%owned Rhyolite Ridge Lithium Boron Project in Nevada, USA.

During the December quarter, ioneer made strong progress from both a corporate and project development perspective, including:

• several key engineering packages were prepared, issued, are in negotiation or were signed;

• State and Federal permitting progressed along their regulatory processes;

• Discussions with strategic partners and funders advanced; and

• Lithium offtake discussions are at the final stages of negotiation.


ioneer dedicated significant effort in the quarter to initiatives designed to advance electrification in the United States ... which Rhyolite Ridge is well positioned to support as the most advanced lithium development project in the US.




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  • 4 months later...

Ioneer signed a binding offtake agreement with the Korean EcoPro Innovation Co for three years for lithium carbonate from Ioneer's lithium boron project in Nevada.


The agreement covers 7000 tonnes a year, 2000 of which is firm and 5000 of which is optional. The price is determined quarterly and denominated in US dollars. EcoPro will convert the lithium carbonate into lithium hydroxide at its cathode plant.



Ioneer shares are up nearly 6 per cent to 36¢.

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Ioneer will effectively supply the critical minerals that go into the production of Ford and Volkswagen electric vehicles in the US by supplying the South Korean based EcoPro.


EcoPro has a joint venture with Samsung to supply it with the cathode which ends up in those electric vehicles.


Ioneer managing director Bernard Rowe said the agreement with EcoPro marked a milestone for Ioneer's recognition as a high quality producer.

It is our first lithium offtake agreement and partnering with a recognised world leader in cathode materials manufacturing is a testament to the quality of our lithium carbonate, he said. EcoPro found that our materials meet its exacting standards. Equally important is Ioneer and EcoPro's shared focus on sustainability," Mr Rowe added.


EcoPro is committed to the production of technologies that reduce emissions, and Ioneer is empowering EcoPro through the production of these critical minerals with a significantly lower carbon footprint. Mr Rowe added.


EcoPro Innovation president Anthony Kim said the deal was focused on improving standards and lowering emissions:

As a trusted and respected company that seeks to improve the quality of life for mankind, we are pleased to partner with Ioneer who share a similar vision. The US location of Rhyolite Ridge, coupled with the growing importance of the EV sector, positions both companies to play an important role in the electrification of transportation in the USA.
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  • 5 months later...

Milestones achieved this past year


Lithium Offtake Agreement Signed binding lithium offtake agreement with Korea’s EcoPro Innovation Co
Permitting for Project • Issued State Class II Air Quality Permit • Issued State Water Pollution Control Permit • Submitted Plan of Operation ... main federal permit application
Engineering • US$122-148 million in major work packages under negotiation • Work continuing with design increasing from 30% (DFS level) to 50% complete
Funding • Strategic Partnership with Sibanye Stillwater US$490m investment for 50% of Rhyolite Ridge • Progressing debt funding for balance of Project

and just announced ....Ioneer has been invited into the due diligence process for the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program 



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  • 7 months later...

ioneer Signs Binding Lithium Offtake Agreement with Prime Planet Energy & Solutions

• Lithium from the ioneer Rhyolite Ridge project in Nevada will be supplied directly to Prime Planet Energy & Solutions, Inc.
• In support of end to end U.S. Electrified Vehicle supply chain and delivering on ioneer initiatives, lithium supplied by ioneer will be produced, refined and incorporated into lithium ion batteries by PPES, which will promote electrification in the U.S. Market
• The 5 year binding Agreement is for a total of 4,000 tonnes per annum of lithium carbonate from the Rhyolite Ridge Lithium Boron operation in Nevada and represents approximately 19% of annual output in the first 5 years of production
• Prime Planet Energy & Solutions is a joint venture battery company between Toyota Motor Corporation and Panasonic Corporation

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