PRESS RELEASE: The Fluor appointment follows the completion of the Rhyolite Ridge pre-feasibility study, which, according to ioneer, demonstrated the project's scale, long life and potential to become the lowest cost lithium producer in the world, as well as the largest lithium producer in the US.
Fluor will initially provide a definitive feasibility study and, subsequently, engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services as the project progresses.
Fluor will book the feasibility study contract value in the December quarter of 2018 and expects to book the full EPCM contract value in 2019 dependent on a final investment decision.
"With the growing demand for electric vehicles and energy storage, Fluor is excited to work with ioneer on our first lithium mine project in Nevada," said Tony Morgan, president of Fluor's Mining & Metals business.
"Our team brings the right combination of technical and execution expertise. We will leverage our full suite of integrated solutions tools, including our Zero Base ExecutionSM process and fit-for-purpose modular design strategy, to develop an execution approach to deliver this project safely and with excellence."
The mine will extract and process ore to produce 20,200t of lithium carbonate and 173,000t of boric acid, annually.
Lithium is a key component in batteries used for electric vehicles, power tools, drones and other items. Boron is widely used in the glass industry to strengthen and increase heat resistance for glass cookware, laboratory glassware and glass screens used in mobile phones, tablets and liquid crystal display televisions. Boron is also used in fibreglass, insulation, electronics and as a micronutrient in agriculture.
The full notice to proceed on the EPCM phase is expected in 2019, with first production expected in 2021.