Department of Energy considering $1 billion loan for Thacker Pass Mine in Nevada

September 29, 2023

According to a report from Bloomberg News, The U.S. Energy Department is in talks to lend a record $1 billion to Lithium Americas to help move forward the development of the Thacker Pass Mine in Nevada.

Thacker Pass is one of the largest lithium deposits in the United States. Development of the mine would help build a domestic supply chain of the metal that is crucial to technology needed for electric vehicle batteries.

The Biden administration and Lithium Americas Corp. are negotiating the terms of an agreement that would fund more than half of the cost of the Thacker Pass Mine, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing confidential information.

The news comes on the heels of an announcement that Lithium Americas Corp. that the separation of the company into Lithium Americas Argentina Corp. (Lithium Argentina) and a new Lithium Americas Corp. (LithiumAmericas (NewCo) pursuant to a statutory plan of arrangement iss expected to be completed on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023.

The Energy Department said it doesn’t comment on loan applications. Vancouver-based Lithium Americas didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The outlay, which could exceed the $1 billion mark, would be the largest-ever loan awarded to a mining company through the Energy Department’s Loan Programs Office. The $2.2 billion project 805 km (500 miles) northeast of San Francisco has been pegged as one of the country’s most promising opportunities to produce the metal used in electric-vehicle batteries, solar panels and wind turbines.

The Loan Programs Office previously provided $107 million to graphite supplier Syrah Resources Ltd. for an anode plant in Louisiana and $2 billion to Redwood Materials Inc. to expand a battery-materials manufacturer in Nevada.

Thacker Pass raised the ire of environmentalists and tribal groups who unsuccessfully argued in court that it posed a threat to the surrounding landscape and was inadequately vetted.

Lithium Americas said in February it had received a letter of substantial completion from the Energy Department for its application to support the financing of Thacker Pass. The company said it expected the loan program to provide up to 75 percent of Thacker Pass’ total capital costs for construction, should a loan be issued.

 Photo credit: Lithium Americas 


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