ioneer Ltd (ASX:INR) is extremely well-placed to benefit from the US Government’s new focus on developing an internal lithium industry through its world-class Rhyolite Ridge project in Nevada.
In addressing investors at this week’s Proactive CEO Sessions, managing director Bernard Rowe said the US had classed lithium as a critical mineral in order to reduce reliance on China.
This coincided with the ongoing development of an electric vehicle industry in the US, along with other new age technologies that used the so-called tech metals.
Boron also an important tech metal
“It is a matter of when, not if, for the US,” Rowe stressed.
He said the fact that Rhyolite Ridge also included considerable boron resources was another feather in the company’s cap with boron being an important tech metal.
Lithium and boron together are extremely rare and there are only two significant projects in the world - Rhyolite Ridge and the Jadar project of Rio Tinto plc (LON:RIO) in Serbia.
ioneer has a market cap of about $250-270 million and an enterprise value of $180 million.
Its sole focus is Rhyolite Ridge in Nevada, which is the world's number one mining investment destination, according to the Fraser Institute's latest survey.
The company’s studies have indicated that it will be the world’s lowest cost lithium producer with the long-life Rhyolite Ridge project, and this is enhanced by boron.
Rhyolite Ridge has already shown its colours with a positive pre-feasibility study demonstrating robust project economics.
ioneer is working hard to further enhance the project with ongoing optimisation work reducing costs while exploration in the broad project area is returning encouraging results with the potential to add to resources.
Strong news flow
Strong ongoing news flow is expected through 2019.
The company is one-third of the way through a definitive feasibility study which is scheduled for completion in the third quarter.
With test work showing that lithium and boric acid can be produced on site, a pilot plant is being built with completion expected by the end of the current quarter.
Updated resource and reserve statements are due in the September quarter.
Suitable for open-pit mining
Rhyolite Ridge is a shallow, thick and flat lying deposit which is suitable for open-pit mining with a low strip ratio.
There are two revenue streams while the mine currently has a mine life of at least 30 years with production forecast to begin in 2021.