Lithium Americas receives billion-dollar loan from US government

Lithium Americas, the lithium producer supported by General Motors, has received a conditional commitment from the US Department of Energy for a loan totalling 2.26 billion dollars. The additional capital will be used to advance the mining project in Nevada.

Image: Lithium Americas

The potential loan will be used to finance the construction of Lithium Americas’ processing facilities at the Thacker Pass mine in Nevada to initially produce 40,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium carbonate per year. According to Reuters, the 2.26 billion dollars is “one of Washington’s largest investments to date in the mining industry as part of a push to boost domestic production of critical minerals for the energy transition.”

The loan will also indirectly support General Motors – and, initially, no other EV manufacturer. That is because when GM invested around 650 million dollars in Lithium Americas in spring 2023, the company secured “exclusive access to Phase 1 production.” The first phase is expected to begin in the second half of 2026, with deliveries to GM and its battery joint battery venture with LG Energy Solution, Ultium Cells. No other company will receive lithium from the Thacker Pass mine.

Initial work on the site near the Nevada-Oregon border began in March 2023, shortly after the GM investment. The funds from the loan that has now been promised are not expected to flow until later this year, as the currently only conditional commitment is still dependent on the outcome of the final environmental assessments.

However, the timetable announced at the time of GM’s entry to start deliveries in the second half of 2026 will no longer be met. Lithium Americas has now announced that the construction period will be three years after the loan is finalised – and that “mechanical completion of Thacker Pass Phase 1 is targeted for 2027.” Moreover, “the Company anticipates a commissioning and ramp-up period of six to twelve months, targeting achieving full capacity production in 2028.,” the press release states.

In addition, the costs for the project have also increased. Previously, Lithium Americas had assumed costs of 2.27 billion dollars; now, the figure is 2.93 billion dollars. Engineering costs have risen, but constructing a residential complex for workers and their families in remote regions is also more expensive than initially calculated.

“We are pleased to have completed the rigorous DOE due diligence process. The Loan plus GM’s strategic investment will provide the vast majority of the capital necessary to fund Phase 1,” said Jonathan Evans, President and CEO of Lithium Americas. “We deeply appreciate the US government’s support as we advance the responsible development of Thacker Pass, and we are excited to continue collaborating with all of our stakeholders to bring shared success for America.”,,


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