US DOE provides a loan of $2.26 billion to Lithium Americas to finance construction of Thacker Pass

Policy & Regulation

Material sourced from the Thacker Pass project will support EV eligibility for consumer incentives under the US clean energy tax credits program

Source: Getty Images/Dilok Klaisataporn

Lithium Americas Corp. announced March 14 that it has received a conditional commitment from the US Energy Department (US DOE) for a $2.26 billion loan under the latter’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program for financing the construction of its processing facilities at Thacker Pass.

The site, which is located in Humboldt County, Nev., is currently the largest known measured and indicated lithium resource in North America, targeting total production capacity of 80,000 metric tons per annum of battery-quality lithium carbonate to be developed in two phases of 40,000 metric tons per annum, respectively (for phase one and phase two), the company said.

It further added that the phase-one production is anticipated to commence in 2027.

Material sourced from the Thacker Pass project will support electric vehicle eligibility for consumer incentives under the US clean energy tax credits program, as defined under the Inflation Reduction Act.

The company said that based on the terms of the conditional commitment, the US DOE loan for $2.26 billion will have interest rates fixed from the date of each monthly advance for the term of the loan at applicable US Treasury rates.

The loan amount includes interest accrued during construction, which is estimated to be $290 million over the three-year period.

“The loan is intended to help finance the construction of the Thacker Pass project, with a goal of producing an initial 40,000 metric tons per year of battery grade lithium carbonate under the first phase,” the company said in a statement.

Notably, Lithium Americas’ Thacker Pass project supports the US government’s plan of securing a domestic supply chain for battery critical minerals to reduce reliance on overseas import sources.

It estimates that the phase-one production could support lithium needs for up to 800,000 EVs annually.

In January 2023, General Motors Holdings LLC had agreed to invest $650 million in Lithium Americas across two tranches for the development of the Thacker Pass project, representing the largest investment publicly disclosed to date by an automaker in a company to produce battery raw materials. As a result, the Detroit-based carmaker has an exclusive offtake to 100% of the lithium production from phase one for up to 15 years and has a right of first offer on phase-two production, the company said.

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