Ioneer Ltd.

Ioneer Ltd.

ASX:INR

Developing a Rare North American Lithium-Boron Deposit Crucial to Clean Technology

Company Highlights

  • Ioneer Ltd is an exploration and development mining company with a 100-percent-owned advanced-stage lithium-boron asset in the United States, with a goal to reach production and become an important source for the US domestic supply chain with lithium and boron, elements necessary for decarbonization.
  • Rhyolite Ridge, the company’s flagship lithium-boron asset, is the only deposit of its kind in North America and is one of two known lithium-boron deposits globally.
  • The Rhyolite Ridge South Basin Mineral Resource is 360Mt containing 3.4Mt of lithium carbonate equivalent and 14.1Mt boric acid equivalent, inclusive of the 60Mt reserve of high boron and lithium that supports the 26-year phase one mine development.
  • A definitive feasibility study (DFS) indicates the asset has the potential to become a world-class project with a long mining life and strong economics.
  • The DFS forecasts that the Rhyolite Ridge asset can produce batteries necessary for nearly 400,000 EVs per year.
  • Ioneer has entered into binding lithium offtake agreements with automotive and electronics manufacturers, securing a future revenue stream once the project reaches production.
  • The company has entered into a joint venture agreement with Sibanye-Stillwater to contribute US$490 million in exchange for a 50 percent interest in the project.
  • The US Department of Energy (DOE) has offered a conditional loan commitment of up to US$700 million at fixed 10-year US Treasury rates to develop the Rhyolite Ridge project
  • Ioneer is primed to commence construction of the Rhyolite Ridge Project upon final permitting and is well-positioned to become a cornerstone supplier of lithium to the US EV battery supply chain.
  • An experienced management team with expertise throughout the mining industry, including lithium and boron, guides the company towards its mission of supporting the domestic US supply chain.
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Overview

Decarbonization initiatives have created a growing demand for the critical minerals necessary to manufacture clean technologies. Supply is already struggling to keep up with this new level of demand, especially when it comes to lithium — a key element used in renewable energy technology. Lithium-ion batteries are vital for electric vehicles (EVs), and the batteries to store energy from wind and solar. By 2050, around 300 terawatt hours (TWh) of lithium-ion battery deployed capacity will be needed to power EVs and supply energy storage systems.

But lithium is not the only critical mineral the world needs to reach ambitious net-zero goals. Boron is an element prized for its heat absorption, insulation and lightweight properties. The element is widely used in manufacturing EV chassis and permanent magnets.

Ioneer Ltd. (ASX:INR, Nasdaq: IONR) aims to develop a source of both lithium and boron for the US domestic supply chain. It is an exploration and development mining company that owns 100 percent of the only lithium-boron deposit in North America and one of two known lithium-boron deposits globally. The company's flagship asset, the Nevada Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project, is the most advanced lithium development project in the United States and has the potential for future low-cost production. An experienced management team, with expertise throughout the natural resources industry, leads Ioneer towards its goals.
Ioneer Ltd.

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Overview

Decarbonization initiatives have created a growing demand for the critical minerals necessary to manufacture clean technologies. Supply is already struggling to keep up with this new level of demand, especially when it comes to lithium — a key element used in renewable energy technology. Lithium-ion batteries are vital for electric vehicles (EVs), and the batteries to store energy from wind and solar. By 2050, around 300 terawatt hours (TWh) of lithium-ion battery deployed capacity will be needed to power EVs and supply energy storage systems.

But lithium is not the only critical mineral the world needs to reach ambitious net-zero goals. Boron is an element prized for its heat absorption, insulation and lightweight properties. The element is widely used in manufacturing EV chassis and permanent magnets.

Ioneer Ltd. (ASX:INR, Nasdaq: IONR) aims to develop a source of both lithium and boron for the US domestic supply chain. It is an exploration and development mining company that owns 100 percent of the only lithium-boron deposit in North America and one of two known lithium-boron deposits globally. The company's flagship asset, the Nevada Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project, is the most advanced lithium development project in the United States and has the potential for future low-cost production. An experienced management team, with expertise throughout the natural resources industry, leads Ioneer towards its goals.
Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project

The Rhyolite Ridge Project is unique both within North America and globally due to its lithium-boron deposits. Both elements are necessary for decarbonization, making the asset ideal for supporting the United States’ goals of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. A 2020 definitive feasibility study (DFS) confirmed the project is a world-class lithium and boron asset with a long mine life and strong economics.

Ioneer has signed binding lithium offtake agreements with EcoPro Innovation, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), Prime Planet Energy Solutions (a joint venture between Toyota and Panasonic), and Dragonfly Energy. Entering into these agreements marks the completion of a key milestone as it moves toward production. The company expects the Rhyolite Ridge Project to be operational by 2026, and then begin supplying materials to its offtake partners. The DFS anticipates the project to generate enough lithium carbonate to produce high-capacity batteries for almost 400,000 EVs for its partners annually.

Additionally, Ioneer has entered into a joint venture agreement with Sibanye Stillwater Ltd (Sibanye-Stillwater) (NYSE:SBSW) to advance the Rhyolite Ridge project once a final investment decision is made. Ioneer will remain the operator of the asset, and the new partner will contribute US$490 million in exchange for a 50 percent interest in a joint venture to support the development of the Rhyolite Ridge Project.
Rhyolite Ridge Location

A board with decades of experience in the natural resources industry leads the company toward fully developing its promising project.

James Calaway, executive chairman, is the former chairman of Orocobre Ltd (now Allkem), a significant global lithium supplier. Bernard Rowe, managing director, has over 25 years of experience in mineral exploration and mine development. Alan Davies, independent non-executive director, is the former chief executive of energy and minerals at Rio Tinto, including the Borates division. Margaret Walker, independent non-executive director, brings over 40 years of experience in chemical engineering, construction and development of complex projects. Rose McKinney-James, independent non-executive director, provides a wealth of experience in both public and private sector service across corporate sustainability, social impact and small business leadership. Stephen Gardiner, independent non-executive director, has over 40 years of corporate finance experience at major international publicly listed companies.

The management team includes additional engineering, sales/marketing, corporate development and international finance experts.

Company Highlights

  • Ioneer Ltd is an exploration and development mining company with a 100-percent-owned advanced-stage lithium-boron asset in the United States, with a goal to reach production and become an important source for the US domestic supply chain with lithium and boron, elements necessary for decarbonization.
  • Rhyolite Ridge, the company’s flagship lithium-boron asset, is the only deposit of its kind in North America and is one of two known lithium-boron deposits globally.
  • The Rhyolite Ridge South Basin Mineral Resource is 360Mt containing 3.4Mt of lithium carbonate equivalent and 14.1Mt boric acid equivalent, inclusive of the 60Mt reserve of high boron and lithium that supports the 26-year phase one mine development.
  • A definitive feasibility study (DFS) indicates the asset has the potential to become a world-class project with a long mining life and strong economics.
  • The DFS forecasts that the Rhyolite Ridge asset can produce batteries necessary for nearly 400,000 EVs per year.
  • Ioneer has entered into binding lithium offtake agreements with automotive and electronics manufacturers, securing a future revenue stream once the project reaches production.
  • The company has entered into a joint venture agreement with Sibanye-Stillwater to contribute US$490 million in exchange for a 50 percent interest in the project.
  • The US Department of Energy (DOE) has offered a conditional loan commitment of up to US$700 million at fixed 10-year US Treasury rates to develop the Rhyolite Ridge project
  • Ioneer is primed to commence construction of the Rhyolite Ridge Project upon final permitting and is well-positioned to become a cornerstone supplier of lithium to the US EV battery supply chain.
  • An experienced management team with expertise throughout the mining industry, including lithium and boron, guides the company towards its mission of supporting the domestic US supply chain.

Key Project

Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project

Rhyolite Economics

The 100-percent-owned Rhyolite Ridge project is located in Nevada near the California border. The project is 330 kilometers southeast of the Tesla Gigafactory near Reno and approximately 330 kilometers northwest of Las Vegas. Detailed engineering design work is underway and approximately 70 percent complete for the project, which is currently progressing towards being fully funded, construction-ready and fully permitted ahead of a final investment decision (FID).

Project Highlights:

  • Substantial Definitive Feasibility Study: A 2020 DFS has indicated the economic viability and potential of the Rhyolite Ridge asset. The DFS and economic model will be updated ahead of FID.
  • Signed Binding Offtake Agreements: The first step towards development was entering into strategic offtake agreements for lithium carbonate and boric acid. These agreements include:
    • Lithium offtakers:
      • EcoPro, a South Korean cathode manufacturer
      • Ford Motor Company and
      • Prime Planet Energy Solutions (a joint venture between Toyota Motor Corporation and Panasonic Corporation)
      • Dragonfly Energy Holdings (NASDAQ:DFLI), an industry leader in energy storage
    • Boron offtakers:
      • Dalian Jinma Boron Technology Group Co. Ltd for 105,000 tonnes per annum of boric acid for five years, including distribution for the territories of China and Taiwan.
      • A three-year sales and distribution agreement with Kintamani Resources Pte Limited throughout Asian territories
    • Government Debt Financing With a term sheet finalized, the US Department of Energy has approved a conditional commitment for a loan of up to US$700 million at fixed US 10-year Treasury rates to develop the Rhyolite Ridge Project
  • Final stage of permitting
    • Revised plan of operation submitted to US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in July 2022
    • BLM recently published a notice of intent in the federal register
    • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process is now underway to draft the environmental impact study necessary for the final record of the decision
    • Two key Nevada state permits (air and water) received in 2021
  • Updated Mineral Resource Estimate: The company updated the mineral resource estimate for the South Basin at the Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron project:
    • Tonnage increased from 146.5 million tons (Mt) to 360 Mt (up 145 percent)
    • Lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) increase from 1.2 Mt to 3.4 Mt (up 168 percent)
    • Boric acid equivalent (BAE) increase from 11.9 Mt to 14.1 Mt (up 18 percent)
    • Cut-off grades unchanged at 1,090 parts per million (ppm) lithium and 5,000 ppm boron
  • Strong sustainability attributes: Instilling a culture of excellence in environmental, social and governance (ESG) has been a focal point for Ioneer with a strong focus on core sustainability pillars guiding all planning efforts for Rhyolite Ridge.
    • Off-grid operation – powered by the capture of heat generated in the sulfuric acid plant
    • Autonomous mining fleet – in collaboration with Caterpillar
    • Water supply and recycling – process plant design optimized to reduce water and will recycle a majority of the water used in the refining process
    • Implementing award-winning ESG platform
    • Protection and conservation of Tiehm’s buckwheat are a key part of the plan of operation
Proposed Rhyolite Ridge processing plant

Board of Directors 

James D. Calaway - Executive Chairman

James Calaway has considerable experience and success in building young companies into successful commercial enterprises. He was the non-executive chairman of Orocobre Ltd (now Allkem) for eight years, helping lead the company from its earliest development to becoming a significant producer of lithium carbonate and a member of the ASX 300.

Bernard Rowe - Managing Director

Founding Managing Director of INR since IPO in 2007

Bernard Rowe is a geologist, manager and company director with more than 30 years of international experience in mineral exploration and mine development. His diverse mineral industry experience includes gold, copper, zinc, diamond, lithium and boron exploration in Australia, Europe, Africa, North America and South America. Rowe has 20 years of experience in Nevada and he led the acquisition of the Rhyolite Ridge project in 2016.

Margaret Walker - Independent Non-executive Director

Margaret Walker brings over 40 years of experience and leadership in large-scale chemical engineering, project management and organizational development gained through a career as a chemical engineer with The Dow Chemical Company most recently as VP engineering and technology centers. She has deep experience in constructing and successfully bringing into production complex projects.

Alan Davies – Independent Non-executive Director

Alan Davies has 20 years of experience in running and leading mining businesses, most recently as chief executive, energy and minerals with Rio Tinto. He has significant experience in industrial minerals businesses including borates, where he led the Rio Tinto Borax business and the Jadar lithium-boron deposit in Serbia.

Rose McKinney-James - Independent Non-executive Director

Rose McKinney-James is an experienced and accomplished public company director, clean energy advocate, and small business leader with a broad history in public service, private sector corporate sustainability, social impact, and non-profit volunteerism. She is the former president and CEO of the Corporation for Solar Tech & Renewable Resources, and commissioner of the Nevada Public Service Commission. She also served as Nevada’s first director of the Department of Business and Industry.

Stephen Gardiner - Independent Non-executive Director

Stephen has over 40 years of corporate finance experience at major international companies listed on the ASX, culminating in 17 years at Oil Search Limited. He has significant experience in corporate finance and control, treasury, tax, audit and assurance, risk management, investor relations and communications, and sustainability. He also held senior corporate finance roles at CSR Limited and Pioneer International Limited.

Executive Team

James D. Calaway - Executive Chairman

James Calaway has considerable experience and success in building young companies into successful commercial enterprises. He was the non-executive chairman of Orocobre Ltd (now Allkem) for eight years, helping lead the company from its earliest development to becoming a significant producer of lithium carbonate and a member of the ASX 300.

Bernard Rowe-– Managing Director

Founding Managing Director of INR since IPO in 2007

Bernard Rowe is a geologist, manager and company director with more than 30 years of international experience in mineral exploration and mine development. His diverse mineral industry experience includes gold, copper, zinc, diamond, lithium and boron exploration in Australia, Europe, Africa, North America and South America. Bernard has 20 years of experience in Nevada and he led the acquisition of the Rhyolite Ridge project in 2016.

Ian Bucknell - Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary

Ian Bucknell is responsible for the finance, investor relations, IT and company secretarial functions of the company. He has more than 25 years of international resource sector experience, most recently as chief financial officer and company secretary of AWE Limited.

Matt Weaver - Senior Vice-president of Engineering and Operations

Matt Weaver is responsible for all engineering and operational aspects of the Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron Project in Nevada and for delivering the project through the Definitive Feasibility Study and project execution and into full commercial production. He has 30 years of international mining experience, having worked with BHP, Rio Tinto and Newmont, and several junior mining companies.

Ken Coon - Vice-president of Human Resources

Ken Coon is responsible for the human resource function of the company. He has more than 30 years of human resources experience holding international and regional leadership roles with Royal Dutch Shell’s downstream refining and chemicals organization and Entergy, a large US Gulf Coast utility company.

Yoshio Nagai - Vice-president of Commercial Sales & Marketing

Yoshio Nagai is responsible for the sales and marketing function of the company. He has more than 20 years of chemical and mining industry sales and marketing experience, most recently as sales vice-president at the Rio Tinto Group Company accountable for borates, salt and talc products in Asia and the USA.

Chad Yeftich - Vice-president Corporate Development and External Affairs

Chad Yeftich has over 20 years of finance and investment industry experience. Yeftich has held several analyst and portfolio management roles over that time at firms such as Maverick Capital, HIG Capital, Trafelet Brokaw & Company, and PwC. For the last seven years, he has focused on investing in and helping develop projects around the world that support the electrification of transportation.

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