A computer simulation of the Thacker Pass processing plant, which is expected to produce 40,000 MT of battery-grade lithium carbonate per year. | Lithium Americas

Lithium Americas Corp. has received a conditional commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a $2.26 billion loan under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program to finance the construction of the processing facilities at Thacker Pass, located in Humboldt County, Nevada.

“This is a significant milestone for Thacker Pass, which will help meet the growing domestic need for lithium chemicals and strengthen our nation’s security,” said Jonathan Evans, president and CEO of Lithium Americas. The AVTM loan plus the strategic investment from General Motors (GM) will provide most of the capital necessary to fund Phase 1, Evans explained.

Thacker Pass is currently the largest known measured and indicated lithium resource in North America, targeting total production capacity of 80,000 metric tons per year (mt/y) of battery-quality lithium carbonate to be developed in two phases of 40,000 mt/y each. Phase 1 production is anticipated to commence in 2027. Material sourced from Thacker Pass will support electric vehicle eligibility for consumer incentives under the U.S. clean energy tax credits program.

In January 2023, GM agreed to invest $650 million in Lithium Americas across two tranches for the development of Thacker Pass, representing the largest investment publicly disclosed to date by an automaker in a company to produce battery raw materials. GM has exclusive offtake to 100% of the lithium production from Phase 1 for up to 15 years and has a right of first offer on Phase 2 production.

Lithium Americas is currently focused on advancing detailed engineering, procurement and execution planning for the construction of Thacker Pass. Initial construction began in early 2023 and major construction is expected to commence in the second half of 2024, following the anticipated closing of the AVTM loan.