As lithium booms again, new players hope to avoid ‘horror’ show of predecessors – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – July 21, 2021)

Mining lithium not only generates environmental concerns, but chemical conversion for battery use is a major challenge

In the middle of July, as COVID-19 restrictions relaxed, Guy Laliberté, chief executive of Sayona Quebec — the company that aims to be the next lithium producer in Canada — was meeting with an opponent of his project.

Last month, the company announced a Quebec Superior Court approved a deal for Sayona Quebec to purchase North American Lithium’s former assets, which includes the La Corne mine, a concentrator and a chemical plant for $94 million in cash plus a range of conditions — pennies on the dollar given the company says previous owners invested around $400 million.

The deal is not expected to close until August, but Sayona aims to start producing lithium by early 2023, a tight time schedule that will require a range of work.

Last week, Laliberté lunched with Steeve Mathias, Chief of the Long Point First Nation, located near Lake Simard in western Quebec, who in May wrote a letter to two provincial ministers calling for an immediate halt to Sayona’s exploration on “Anishnabeg unceded ancestral territory.”

“We are facing some opposition of course,” Laliberté told the Financial Post. “But I think more and more, the communities are involved, and they are very concerned about what we do with the forests and nature and hunting and what we do for their traditional activities.”

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