ioneer Ltd (ioneer or the Company) (ASX: INR), an emerging lithium–boron producer, is pleased to announce a partnership with Caterpillar as its exclusive heavy equipment partner for its Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project in Nevada.
- ioneer selects Caterpillar as exclusive heavy equipment partner for its Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project in Nevada.
- Caterpillar is the world’s largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment.
- The equipment and services to be supplied by Caterpillar during the first five years of operation valued at approximately US$100 million.
- Under the partnership, Caterpillar will offer finance solutions for the equipment through Caterpillar Financial Services (subject to definitive legal documentation).
- ioneer and Caterpillar are working on a joint automation study that aims for the early introduction of autonomous haul trucks at Rhyolite Ridge for improved safety, productivity, and a reduction in the physical and environmental footprint of a mine.
- Rhyolite Ridge is the most advanced lithium development project in the US.
- Rhyolite Ridge Project is expected to come on stream in 2023 and produce over 22,000 tonnes per annum of lithium chemicals – more than four times current US production.
- ioneer is expected to be the first new lithium chemicals producer in the US in over 60 years and become a major supplier of lithium and boron products to the US and global markets for many decades.
Caterpillar is the world’s largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment and will supply haul trucks, hydraulic shovels, wheel loaders, and other mine site support machinery like 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 maximise efficiency and accuracy in material loading.
The equipment and services supplied by Caterpillar during the first five years of operation is valued at approximately US$100 million. In addition, Caterpillar will offer the Company finance solutions for the equipment through Caterpillar Financial Services. Both the supply of equipment and services and finance solutions are subject to a final investment decision being taken on the Project and definitive legal documentation.
The partnership will operate through Cashman Equipment, a major Caterpillar equipment dealer, which has been based in Nevada since 1931.
Cashman Equipment willsupport the Rhyolite Ridge Project with technicians to assemble and service the equipment, operator trainersto assist with the most efficient machine operations, and product support consultants to facilitate a comprehensive Maintenance and Repair Contract (MARC) agreement.
ioneer and Caterpillar are working on a joint automation study that aims for the early introduction of autonomous haul trucks at Rhyolite Ridge. Caterpillar has been a leader on the journey toward automation for many years. Fully autonomous mining automation systems offer unprecedented improvements in operator safety, equipment availability, and site productivity and play an important role in reducing the physical and environmental mine footprint of a mine.
ioneer’s managing director, Bernard Rowe, said, “We are extremely pleased to partner with the world’s leading manufacturer of mining
equipment, Caterpillar. The Cashman Equipment Cat dealership has serviced the Nevada mining industry for close to ninety years, and we are delighted it is joining us in a new era of mining within Nevada and the United States – producing the materials that are critical for electric vehicles and renewable energy. Ioneer is at the forefront of the US strategic imperative to develop a domestic lithium battery supply chain.”
Todd Gilligan, vice president of sales, marketing, and rental at Cashman Equipment, said, “Lithium is an essential component of the transition to a low-carbon and clean energy future and it is vital for the US to develop its own domestic supply of this critical material. A mining endeavour of this magnitude needs a first-class machine fleet, and Caterpillar offers the most comprehensive, advanced line up of mining equipment and technology in the industry. That fleet will be backed by dedicated experts like our employees here at Cashman to provide maximum uptime and efficiency. 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 US supplier to the lithium battery and EV markets.”
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