Snow lake lithium announced today that it expects to produce enough lithium at its facilities in Manitoba, Canada to produce approximately 5 million electric vehicle batteries for the North American market over 10 years beginning in 2025. In a press release provided CleanTechnica, Snow Lake CEO Philip Gross said, “As we rapidly transition to electrification, it is critical to the future of the North American automotive industry that we build a battery supply chain from the rock to the road. 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 abundant lithium resources and is on the doorstep of North American producers. That’s enough lithium to power 500,000 electric vehicles a year produced in North America, which would significantly reduce the logistics and emissions that would be created by importing raw materials from China.”
With the passage of Art Law on reducing inflation in the U.S. last month, access to lithium supplies coming from North America will be critical for U.S. automakers that want their electric cars and trucks to qualify for tax breaks and other incentives included in the new law. But while access to lithium is important, extracting it in an environmentally friendly way is a challenge.
Like Philip Gross told CleanTechnica Company Joe Boras earlier this year, Snow Lake promises to be a lithium producer that doesn’t hurt. It will use exclusively hydroelectric power. Its mining equipment runs on electricity, and it will use light rail systems to move products to market instead of using ships or trucks. All of these measures will minimize the environmental cost of extracting lithium from the ground using “hard rock” mining, which the company says is more environmentally friendly than mining lithium from brine pools.
Snow Lake Lithium is ideally positioned to serve the North American automotive industry with access to the US rail network via the Arctic Gateway Railroad. This will reduce transportation from thousands of miles by road and boat to a few hundred miles by train.
To ensure seamless supply chain integration, Snow Lake Lithium is planning a joint venture to build a lithium hydroxide processing plant and is looking to partner with an automaker or battery manufacturer to implement the plan. Mercedes and Hyundai have already begun looking for lithium suppliers in Canada to help them meet the US requirement to purchase battery materials that will come into effect on January 1, 2023. The proposed lithium mine would be located at CentrePort Canada in southern Manitoba. A review study is already underway to determine the most efficient way to build a world-class lithium hydroxide plant in Manitoba.
The 55,000-acre site where the Snow Lake facility will be located is expected to produce 160,000 tons of 6% lithium spodumene per year over 10 years. Snow Lake Lithium has currently explored approximately 1% of its acreage and is confident that further exploration will increase estimates over the next year. In the coming months, the company will continue its engineering evaluation and drilling program at its site, anticipating that mining operations will progress to commercial production, which is planned for 2025.
“Snow Lake Lithium is committed to building and operating a fully renewable and sustainable lithium mine that can deliver a fully traceable, carbon-neutral and zero-harm product to the North American electric vehicle and battery markets. Not only do we aim to 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 turned its attention to the source of materials used to make batteries for electric cars sold in America. Snow Lake is well positioned to step into the spotlight and provide the lithium the US needs to advance the electric vehicle revolution.
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