Snow Lake Lithium announced today it expects to produce enough lithium from its operations in Manitoba, Canada, to manufacture around 5 million electric car batteries for the North American market over 10 years beginning in 2025. In a press release shared with CleanTechnica, Snow Lake CEO Philip Gross said, “As we rapidly transition to electrification, it’s essential for the future of the North American automotive industry that we build a rock to road battery supply chain. Local sourcing of critical raw materials such as lithium is the only logical step to create a vertically integrated domestic supply chain.
“Snow Lake Lithium has access to a rich lithium resource and is on the doorstep of North American manufacturers. This is enough lithium to power 500,000 electric vehicles a year produced in North America, which would significantly reduce logistics and emissions that would be created by importing raw materials from China.”
With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in the US last month, access to lithium supplies that are sourced from North America will become critical for American automakers who want their electric cars and trucks to be eligible for the tax rebates and other incentives included in the new law. But while access to lithium is important, extracting it in way that is environmentally sound is a challenge.
As Philip Gross told CleanTechnica’s Jo Borras earlier this year, Snow Lake is promising to be a “no-harm” producer of lithium. It will use hydroelectric power exclusively. Its mining equipment is all powered by electricity and it will use light rail systems to move its products to market instead of using ships or trucks. All of these measures will minimize the environmental cost of extracting lithium from the ground with “hard rock” mining, which the company believes is more environmentally friendly that extracting lithium from brine pools.
Snow Lake Lithium is ideally located to serve the North American automotive industry with access to the US rail network via the Arctic Gateway railway. That will reduce transportation from thousands of miles by road and boat to just several hundred miles by train.
To enable the seamless integration of the supply chain, Snow Lake Lithium plans to establish a joint venture to create a lithium hydroxide processing plant and is seeking a partnership with an automaker or battery manufacturer to bring the plan to fruition. Mercedes and Hyundai have already begun looking for lithium suppliers in Canada to help them meet the US battery materials sourcing regulations that go into effect on January 1, 2023. The proposed lithium mine will be located in CentrePort Canada in Southern Manitoba. A scoping study is already underway to identify the most effective way to build a world class lithium hydroxide plant in Manitoba.
The 55,000-acre site where the Snow Lake operation will be located is expected to produce 160,000 tonnes of 6% lithium spodumene a year over a 10-year period. Currently, Snow Lake Lithium has explored approximately 1% of its site and is confident that further exploration will increase estimates over the course of the next year. Over the coming months, the company will continue its engineering evaluation and drilling program across its site, with the expectation that mining operations, will transition to commercial production targeted for 2025.
“Snow Lake Lithium is committed to creating and operating a fully renewable and sustainable lithium mine that can deliver a completely traceable, carbon neutral, and zero harm product to the North American electric vehicle and battery markets. We aspire to not only set the standard for responsible lithium mining, but we intend to be the first lithium producer in the world to achieve Certified B Corporation status in the process.”
The US has put the spotlight on the source of materials used to make the batteries for electric vehicles sold in America. Snow Lake is well positioned to step into that spotlight and provide the lithium the US needs to move the EV revolution forward.
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Source: Clean Technica