Ioneer has selected Caterpillar, the world’s largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, as the exclusive heavy equipment partner for its Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project in Nevada.
The equipment and services to be supplied by Caterpillar during the first five years of operation are valued at approximately $100 million. Caterpillar will offer finance solutions for the equipment through Caterpillar Financial Services.
Rhyolite Ridge is the most advanced lithium development project in the United States and is expected to come on stream in 2023 and produce more than 22,000 tons annually of lithium chemicals, more than four times current U.S. production.
Ioneer is expected to be the first new lithium chemicals producer in the U.S. in more than 60 years and become a major supplier of lithium and boron products to the United States and global markets for many decades.
Caterpillar will supply haul trucks, hydraulic shovels, wheel loaders and other mine site support machinery such as track-type tractors (dozers), excavators and motor graders. All equipment will feature the latest in high-precision GPS and real-time analytics in order to maximize efficiency and accuracy in material loading.
The partnership will operate through Cashman Equipment, a major Caterpillar equipment dealer, which has been based in Nevada since 1931. Cashman Equipment will support the Rhyolite Ridge Project with technicians to assemble and service the equipment, operator trainers to assist with the most efficient machine operations and product support consultants to facilitate a comprehensive Maintenance and Repair Contract agreement.
“We are extremely pleased to partner with the world’s leading manufacturer of mining equipment, Caterpillar,” said Bernard Rowe, Ioneer’s managing director. “The Cashman Equipment Cat dealership has serviced the Nevada mining industry for close to 90 years, and we are delighted it is joining us in a new era of mining within Nevada and the United States, producing materials that are critical for electric vehicles and renewable energy.”
“Lithium is an essential component of the transition to a low-carbon and clean energy future, and it is vital for the U.S. to develop its own domestic supply of this critical material,” Cashman Equipment Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Rental Todd Gilligan said. “A mining endeavor of this magnitude needs a first-class machine fleet, and Caterpillar offers the most comprehensive, advanced lineup of mining equipment and technology in the industry.
“We are excited to have been selected as ioneer’s partner and look forward to working together on this important American project that is set to become a major U.S. supplier to the lithium battery and EV markets.”