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Lithium project receives air quality permit

A planned lithium project in Esmeralda County took a step forward.

A project known as the Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project in Esmeralda County was issued a Class II Air Quality Permit at the end of June, according to Ioneer Ltd., the company behind the project.

“Our commitment to responsible production is at the core of our operation,” said Ioneer’s Managing Director Bernard Rowe in a press release. “The issuance of the Class II Air Quality Permit represents a significant milestone for the Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project and supports our detailed plans for a processing plant with low emissions and minimal hazardous air pollutants.”

Rowe continued, “We are grateful for the efforts of NDEP, our consultants and Ioneer employees to achieve this milestone. After regulatory review and public comment period, we are pleased that Rhyolite Ridge is the first project with sulphuric acid production to receive a Class II Air Quality permit in Nevada.”

The lithium project went through a detailed review by the state of Nevada Division of Environmental Protection Bureau of Air Pollution Control. The permit is required in order for construction to commence at Rhyolite Ridge.

The overall project encompasses a quarry, an overburden storage facility and the first acid plant permitted in the state of Nevada. The project also includes an ore processing facility for boric acid and lithium carbonate production and a spent ore storage facility.

“The project’s Acid Plant features MECS® /SNC Lavalin designed heat recovery technology, which means the plant will generate all of the electricity and heat needed for normal operations,” Ioneer said in a release. “This means the operation will be energy-independent and using co-generated zero-carbon power.”

The planned facility will not use fossil fuels to generate electricity during its operations and will not draw power from the electricity grid.

“The Acid Plant features state-of-the-art controls that limit emissions to among the lowest in the world for this type of plant,” Ioneer states.

Rowe said, “As the most advanced lithium development project in the U.S., we are committed to ensuring Rhyolite Ridge is a sustainable, environmentally sensitive operation that also delivers significant positive economic impact in the state of Nevada. This important step allows us to continue to develop the project and work toward construction.”

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