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ioneer Quadruples Rhyolite Ridge Reserve on way to Releasing DFS

THE DRILL SERGEANT: – ioneer Ltd (ASX: INR) announced a 280 per cent upgrade to the Ore Reserve estimate for the company’s 100 per cent-owned Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada, USA.

ioneer informed the market that the Ore Reserve at Rhyolite Ridge has been increased by 44.2 million tonnes and is now estimated to contain:

60mt at 1,800ppm lithium (equivalent to 1% lithium carbonate) and 15,400ppm boron (equivalent to 8.8% boric acid);

Containing 0.6mt of equivalent lithium carbonate and 5.3mt of equivalent boric acid.

This represents an increase of 0.42mt of lithium carbonate and 4.3mt of boric acid compared to the company’s previous Ore Reserve in December 2018.

“The 60 million tonne Ore Reserve provides the foundation for a very long mine life at the Rhyolite Ridge project, with clear potential for expansion and extension underpinned by the 146.5 million tonne Mineral Resource,” ioneer managing director Bernard Rowe said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“Importantly, the planned Stage 1 quarry is exclusively Proved Reserves with higher-than-average lithium grades, which will provide higher cash flow in the early years of the project.

“The lithium-boron mineralisation remains open, particularly to the south where it continues to shallow and is generally higher in grade, and we expect further increases to Resources and Reserves with additional drilling.

“With the recent focus by the US Government on ensuring the supply of critical minerals, ioneer is well placed to become the first major domestic supplier of lithium to the American electric vehicle industry.”

The company backed up the Ore Reserve announcement with the results of a recently completed Definitive Feasibility Study that produced outcomes, including:

Project economics with an after-tax NPV of US$1.265 billion, and an unlevered, after tax internal rate of return (IRR) of 20.8 per cent;

The DFS confirmed plans for a large, long-life, low-cost operation, producing lithium carbonate, boric acid and then battery-grade lithium hydroxide;

All-in sustaining cash cost of US$2,510 per metric tonne lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) places the Rhyolite Ridge project at the bottom of the global lithium cost curve;

Stable boric acid revenue helps ensure EBITDA margin of 68.1 per cent based on average production over Life of Mine (LOM); and

Average LOM production 20,600 tonnes per annum of lithium carbonate, converting in year four to 22,000tpa of battery-grade lithium hydroxide, and 174,400tpa of boric acid.

“The DFS confirms our long-standing belief that Rhyolite Ridge is a world-class asset that will be transformational for ioneer and its shareholders,” Rowe declared.

“Rhyolite Ridge will be the single most attractive resource to economically produce lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide, and boric acid globally.

“The co-production of boric acid enables us to produce lithium, net of boric acid credits, at the lowest possible cost.

“Rhyolite Ridge’s projected position at the very bottom of the global lithium industry cost curve will enable us to achieve industry-leading EBITDA margins, an excellent return on investment, and a quick payback across a range of commodity price environments.

“Additionally, we are located in Nevada, a mining-friendly jurisdiction in the US, where lithium is recognised as a strategically important mineral, critical to a sustainable future.

“These benefits make Rhyolite Ridge an attractive project to strategic partners, which we have witnessed in discussions to date.

“On top of strong fundamentals, we expect the long-term demand for lithium to continue to increase when the Rhyolite Ridge production comes fully on-stream.

“I am proud of the ioneer team and our partners for their hard work over the last eighteen months, which has enabled us to successfully complete a robust and comprehensive DFS.

“We are now one important step closer to becoming a leading low-cost, long-life producer of lithium.”

 

Web: www.ioneer.com.au

 

ioneer Upgrades Rhyolite Ridge Mineral Resource Estimate

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: ioneer Ltd (ASX: INR) announced an updated Mineral Resource estimate for the company’s 100 per cent-owned Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada, USA.

Ioneer has taken the total lithium-boron Mineral Resource for the South Basin at Rhyolite Ridge to be now estimated (at a cut-off grade of 5,000ppm boron) to contain:

154 million tonnes at 1,650ppm lithium (equivalent to 0.9% lithium carbonate) and 14,100ppm boron (equivalent to 8% boric acid); and

1.3 million tonnes of lithium carbonate and 12.4 million tonnes of boric acid.

The company said the update represents an increase of 200,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate and 3.8 million tonnes boric acid compared to the previous lithium-boron Mineral Resource estimate.

The updated Mineral Resource includes a maiden Measured Resource of 41 million tonnes at 1,700ppm lithium and 14,400ppm boron.

This contains a higher-grade Measured Resource of 27.5 million tonnes at 1,900ppm lithium and 17,800ppm boron for the Upper Zone.

“This upgraded Mineral Resource is exactly what we were aiming to achieve with the 2018/2019 drill program at Rhyolite Ridge,” ioneer managing director Bernard Rowe said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The higher confidence Measured Resource relates to the planned starter pit and due to the significantly higher grades, we can expect to see a material increase in the projected early operating cash flows.

“The total Resource has continued to grow with step-out drilling to the south where both the lithium and boron grades are some of the highest we have seen in the deposit.

“The lithium-boron mineralisation remains open to the south where it continues to be shallow and we expect further increases to the Resource with additional drilling.

“With the recent focus by the US Government on ensuring the supply of critical minerals, ioneer is well placed to become the first major domestic supplier of lithium to the American electric vehicle industry.”

The company explained that a planned starter pit is being developed as part of the Rhyolite Ridge Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS).

This starter pit will mine the Measured Resource and is expected to provide stronger cash flows in the early years of the project compared to the Preliminary Feasibility Study (PFS).

ioneer said the improved cash flows would become evident upon completion of the updated mine plan and schedule currently being undertaken as part of the DFS.

Lithium-boron (searlesite) mineralisation is the focus of the DFS as it represents the highest value material.

The low-clay and high-searlesite content of the lithium-boron mineralisation allows for a low-cost, simple processing route due to being amenable to low-cost acid leaching.

 

Website: www.ioneer.com

 

ioneer Produces Battery-Grade Lithium Hydroxide

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: ioneer Ltd (ASX: INR) has had battery-grade lithium hydroxide produced using standard commercial processes on ore from the company’s Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada, USA.

ioneer said the testwork had been carried out by Veolia Water Technologies Inc. as part of the Rhyolite Ridge DFS.

Veolia is the world’s largest supplier of evaporator and crystalliser systems and is globally regarded for its processing expertise.

Veolia’s benchscale testwork simulated major unit operations within the DFS process flowsheet and produced: boric acid and lithium carbonate; and high-purity (battery grade) lithium hydroxide.

“Veolia has a strong track record in designing and supplying production processes for the lithium industry,” ioneer managing director Bernard Rowe dais in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“By simulating major unit operations of the Rhyolite Ridge process flowsheet, Veolia has successfully validated the commercial process and confirmed key flowsheet parameters being finalised in the Rhyolite Ridge DFS.

“This gives us confidence that our commercial process is both straightforward and scalable.

“Using the technical-grade lithium carbonate produced from Rhyolite Ridge DFS flowsheet, Veolia has successfully completed bench-scale testing to support the commercial application for crystallising battery-grade lithium hydroxide.

“The testwork confirms that Rhyolite Ridge will be able to produce a range of products at the mine site including boric acid, lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide.

“ioneer is well placed to meet the expected strong North American demand for lithium as the United States looks to develop a domestic battery supply chain.”

 

Website: www.ioneer.com