Ioneer and Shell sign sulphur supply MoU for Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project

Ioneer Ltd has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Shell Canada Energy for the sale of sulphur to Ioneer for its Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada, USA.

Securing the supply of key reagents for ore processing is an important step along the critical pathway to developing the Rhyolite Ridge project, Ioneer says.

Under the MoU, Ioneer will purchase up to 500,000 t of high-quality sulphur annually from Shell, which would fulfil the estimated annual sulphur requirement for the project. The agreement follows a Letter of Intent signed by the two companies in December 2019. With a binding commitment to negotiate exclusively with one another, it is the intention of both parties to advance the MoU into a Definitive Agreement at the appropriate time, Ioneer says.

Once operational, Rhyolite Ridge is expected to produce 20,600 t/y of lithium carbonate, converting in year four to 22,000 t/y of battery-grade lithium hydroxide, and 174,400 t/y of boric acid.

Ioneer’s Managing Director, Bernard Rowe, said: “With this MoU, Ioneer takes another key step to secure sulphur for the Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project. Sulphur is a primary input for our process as it will be converted into the sulphuric acid required for leaching the ore as well as releasing heat which is recovered to produce carbon free power and steam for the facility. Shell is an ideal partner for this effort, and we look forward to furthering our partnership together on additional decarbonisation solutions while providing materials for a sustainable future.”

Peter Zissos, GM Global Sulphur & Thiogro from Shell, said: “We are excited to expand our partnership with Ioneer to include the sale of sulphur while collaborating on various decarbonisation solutions. Sulphur’s second largest use is for mining, including for the extraction of electric vehicle metals like lithium. With safe and reliable delivery of sulphur to customers like Ioneer, Shell Sulphur Solutions is delivering inputs critical for renewable energy production and management.”