The US is warming to the possibility of opening new mines to reduce its reliance on strategic mineral imports and it couldn’t have come at a better time for Arizona Lithium.

In a landmark speech in Houston last week, US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told attendees she was working to streamline new sources of minerals urgently needed for electric vehicle production.

Her department, which has already received applications for US$2bn in loans to fund domestic strategic minerals projects, is also proactively contacting junior miners to discuss potential loans.

“The goal here is to make sure that people know that it’s not a lack of capital that’s holding back the development of these assets in the United States,” Reuters quoted Energy Department’s Loan Programs Office head Jigar Shah as saying.

However, projects will still need to secure environmental approval with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), EPA administrator Michael Regan saying that skirting environmental laws and disproportionately impact communities of colour as well as tribal communities was a thing of the past – something Aussie-listed Arizona has been equally proactive about.

Big lithium potential

This openness to new mines is sweet music for Arizona Lithium (ASX:AZL), which is currently progressing a scoping study for its Big Sandy lithium project in Arizona.

Meeting environmental, social and governance standards is high on the company’s to-do list with Ausenco Engineering engaged to ensure that its ESG is up to spec – along with evaluating extraction, treatment and transportation options.

The company will also look to use new tech, such as leach solution purification using ion exchange, improved crystallisation methods for the final product, and further recovery of lithium from beneficiation waste to make Big Sandy an exemplar of responsible and sustainable mining.

With Big Sandy having an Indicated and Inferred JORC resource of 32.5 million tonnes grading 1,850 parts per million (ppm) lithium for 320,800 tonnes Li2CO3, ticking all the boxes is likely to put the project on the permitting fast track and be a suitable candidate for US government loans.

There is also plenty of potential for growth given that this resource covers just 4% of the company’s granted tenure.




This article was developed in collaboration with Arizona Lithium, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.