US lithium-boron producer ioneer Ltd (ASX:INR) is set to become a major producer of battery-grade lithium after the company successfully converted lithium carbonate taken from its Rhyolite Ride Pilot Plant into lithium hydroxide.
Under a binding agreement for boric acid production, the company is now “highly focused” on securing offtake agreements for its lithium-based products.
“Rhyolite Ridge will be well-positioned to meet both North American and global demand for lithium carbonate and battery-grade lithium hydroxide,” said Bernard Rowe, ioneer Managing Director.
With the milestone in ioneer’s lithium hydroxide development path, the company intends to position itself as a major supplier to the US electric vehicle industry.
As the second-largest chemical produced by the lithium industry, lithium hydroxide is expected to see even greater demands as a direct result of the growth in higher-nickel chemistry cathode materials for the automotive and the energy storage markets.
Benchmark Mineral Intelligence predicts that US demand for lithium will exponentially rise with time, exceeding 344kt by 2025.
“The world is in an important transition where renewable power and the electrification of transportation will plan an ever more important role,” Rowe said.
“The successful and timely delivery of ioneer’s Rhyolite Ridge Lithium- Boron Project in Nevada is a critical early effort to secure the United States an economic, and sustainable domestic supply of this material which is a lynchpin for electrification.”