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What could become only the second lithium mine in the US received support from the Biden administration this week. A spotted side The Department of Energy said it will provide mining company Ioneer with a contingent loan of up to $700 million to develop the Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron project in Esmeralda County, Nevada. Once operational, the mine is expected to produce enough lithium for about 370,000 electric vehicles a year. Ioneer already has supply contracts with automakers such as Ford and Toyota, although the project likely won’t start producing lithium until 2026.

The Biden administration made the funding available through the Department of Energy. In order to secure the money, Ioneer must obtain all necessary approvals from the relevant state and federal agencies. He opposed the project because it threatens an endangered wildflower species known as Tiehm’s buckwheat. The US Department of the Interior has yet to give its blessing to the project for the same reason. The Energy Department said Ioneer revised its plans for the site to avoid direct impacts to the plant. However, it is worth noting that lithium mining requires implementation.

However, the mineral is essential to many of the technologies needed to move the world into a zero-emissions future. Furthermore, lithium supply is expected to fall short of global demand by 2030. That gap will make it difficult for the Biden administration to meet its goal of making half of all cars sold in the U.S. electric by the end of the decade.

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