February 14, 2022
ABB has won a large contract from Australian-listed ioneer Ltd., an emerging lithium-boron supplier committed to becoming an important producer of materials necessary for a sustainable future, for project management, engineering and the supply of power and automation systems. The contract is part of a development program at the customer’s Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project in Nevada, US, the only known lithium-boron deposit in North America and one of two such deposits in the world. Financial details of the contract were not disclosed. The order was booked in the first quarter of 2022.
Under the contract, ABB will commence work on systems engineering and optimization for the equipment packages, which include a steam turbine generator, medium and low voltage electrical distribution, power management and plant-wide process automation and instrumentation systems for the power generation, acid and lithium-boron processing plants.
ABB will use its comprehensive ABB Ability™ MineOptimize approach and portfolio of optimized engineering, products and systems, electrification and automation solutions, digital applications and remote services. MineOptimize integrates individual mining solutions into a connected and structured plant-wide system to optimize all stages in the lifecycle – from design and build to operation and service – of any open-pit or underground mine and minerals processing plant. This approach helps mining companies optimize CAPEX and maximize productivity, sustainability and safety.
“The contract with ABB is one of the more significant supply packages we have awarded at Rhyolite Ridge and represents another step in the development of the project,” said Bernard Rowe, Managing Director at ioneer. “ABB is focused on providing environmentally sound engineering and technology solutions. This aligns with ioneer’s ambition to not only produce materials necessary for electric vehicles and renewable energy infrastructure, but to do so in an efficient and environmentally responsible way through lowered emissions, significantly reduced water usage and a small surface footprint.”
“The Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project represents an opportunity for the US and the world to ensure the supply of the minerals needed to successfully transition to sustainable transport and we’re proud to be part of it,” said Joachim Braun, President of ABB’s Process Industries Division.
“We look forward to working with ioneer as their technology partner as it progresses development. This contract provides clear recognition of our experience, know-how and world-class technologies. It is also important to note that our localized approach and strength in service and aftermarket were important factors for ioneer when it came to choosing a partner.”
Enhancing the US’s critical mineral supply chains is a focus of the US federal government to foster growth in the clean energy economy, like electric vehicles that rely on lithium for batteries. ioneer and ABB are both founding members of the Zero Emissions Transportation Association (ZETA) which an industry coalition advocating for policies to encourage adoption of Electric Vehicle in the US.
The site at Rhyolite Ridge is the only known lithium-boron deposit in North America and one of only two such deposits in the world. It is expected to become a globally significant, long-life, cost-effective source of lithium and boron vital to a sustainable future. The unique mineralogy, together with the use of ABB’s commercially proven equipment and technology, allows lithium and boron to be extracted in a low-cost and environmentally sustainable manner.