Indigenous company says battery recycling could ease mining tensions between First Nations, Ontario – by Naimul Karim (Financial Post – May 3,2023)

Three Fires Group says recycling may eliminate need for mining and disturbing lands

An Indigenous company that inked a deal with a Toronto-based miner to recycle battery metals said a greater emphasis on recycling could help alleviate tensions related to mining claims between Ontario and First Nations.

Three Fires Group, a company that represents a number of First Nations in southwestern Ontario including Caldwell First Nation, the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, agreed May 2 to supply Electra Battery Materials Corp. with “black mass,” an industry term for expired lithium-ion batteries that have been shredded and have had their casings removed.

“The recycling of critical minerals through batteries is an opportunity to not only create a circular economy but to avoid the need of mining so many of these critical minerals and disturbing lands like in the Ring of Fire,” said Reggie George, the company’s executive director of special projects and partnerships.

“Every ounce of lithium that we can keep out of a landfill and within the battery infrastructure is one ounce that we won’t have to mine,” George added. The Ring of Fire region in northern Ontario has long been heralded as having a potential to lead a mining boom because it is rich in cobalt, nickel, copper and platinum. Premier Doug Ford is especially keen to spur development, as the green transition has increased demand for such minerals.

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