ioneer Ltd’s ASX:INR) Plan of Operations for the Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project in Nevada has been deemed complete and formally accepted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), marking a major milestone toward the completion of the National Environmental Policy Act process.
The Plan of Operations is the foundational permitting document for the project and will become the basis for compliance during operations and closure.
This represents the main body of work required for permitting and drew on 14 baseline studies that have been completed over a two-year period.
In accordance with the NEPA process, the plan will now undergo an environmental review followed by preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The plan will be updated to reflect outcomes from the NEPA analysis before being finalised.
“Major milestone” towards development
Managing director Bernard Rowe said: “Completion and acceptance of the Plan of Operations represents a major milestone toward developing the Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project.
“It is the culmination of over two-years of dedicated work by ioneer and our team of consultants.
“Our project is the only lithium-boron project in North America and one of only two known such deposits in the world.
“It sits at the very bottom of the global lithium cost curve and has been engineered to ensure a predictable, sustainable and low-cost source of lithium in the United States, a key component for batteries fueling the electric vehicle revolution.
“In delivering this world-class project, ioneer will also make a significant positive impact on the economy in the state of Nevada through the creation of 400-500 construction jobs and 200-300 high-paying operating jobs.”
‘Construction-ready’ phase by Q2 2021
The NEPA process culminates in the BLM’s Record of Decision (ROD), representing the BLM’s final decision on ioneer’s application for an approved Plan of Operations.
An approved plan will allow ioneer to begin construction at the site.
ioneer is targeting being 'construction-ready' in Q2 of 2021 and is continuing to advance engineering from DFS level (30%) to construction level (50-100%) to meet this objective.