RENO, Nev. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy says it plans to loan $700 million to an Australian mining company to pursue a proposed lithium project in Nevada.
It’s part of a program aimed at building up domestic supplies for a key component in electric vehicle batteries.
The move ups the ante in what’s already a high-stakes battle over President Joe Biden’s energy agenda and conservationists fighting to protect an endangered wildflower found only at the proposed mine site.
Ioneer Ltd. has hoped to begin mining there by 2026.
The company projects the site halfway between Reno and Las Vegas could produce enough lithium to support production of about 400,000 electric vehicles annually for decades.