Pentagon awards $110 million more to Albemarle, Talon Metals

Core from the Tamarack nickel JV in Minnesota. Credit: Talon Metals

Albemarle (NYSE: ALB) and Talon Metals (TSX: TLO) are getting about $110 million in new US government funding to support their lithium and nickel mining projects, the Pentagon said.

Under the US Defense Production Act, Albemarle is to receive $90 million for its planned reopening of the Kings Mountain lithium mine in North Carolina.

Talon Metals is slated for $20.6 million for more exploration across the Tamarack nickel project in Minnesota.

The agreements were officially announced by the US Defense Department on Tuesday.

The funding follows $149.7 million awarded nearly a year ago to Charlotte, NC-based Albemarle to build a processing facility for lithium, and $114.8 million for Talon Metal’s nickel unit in North Dakota to build a processing plant for mineral mined in Minnesota.

Also last year, North Carolina-based Piedmont Lithium (NASDAQ: PLL; ASX: PLL) received $141.7 million to build a $600 million processing plant in Tennessee.

The total package a year ago also included $661 million in federal funding to various battery, lithium and graphite projects by Ascend Elements, Lilac Solutions, Cirba Solutions and Syrah Resources (ASX: SYR). 

Other recipients this year include Perpetua Resources (TSX: PPTA; NASDAQ: PPTA) and Graphite One (TSXV: GPH).

It’s all part of the Biden administration’s $2.8 billion in funding to boost American mineral production for green metals to fight climate change and Chinese control of many of the world’s processing facilities. Western nations have formed critical minerals lists, ramped up spending and formed alliances promoting cooperation between allies.

Albemarle estimates that Kings Mountain will be operational between 2025 and 2030.

Today, the only operating nickel mine in the US, the Eagle mine in Michigan, owned by Lundin Mining (TSX: LUN) ships its concentrates abroad for refining and is scheduled to close in 2027.

Tamarack is the only high-grade development-stage nickel mine in the country.

Tesla signed an agreement in 2022 to purchase 75,000 metric tonnes of nickel in concentrate from Tamarack.