Lithium company points to late 2027 for Thunder Bay refinery startup – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – May 24, 2023)

Avalon Advanced Materials seeks to peddle petalite to the electric vehicle manufacturing masses

A lithium player’s aspirations in 2020 to fast-track a refinery project into production in Thunder Bay is being walked back by new management. After some front office reshuffling, Avalon Advanced Materials is now pushing out the start date of a lithium hydroxide processing plant by about four years.

With more pragmatic timelines in place, Avalon is now looking to start mining at its Separation Rapids project, north of Kenora, in late 2025 or early 2026, if government permits and approvals come through a timely fashion.

The mined material would feed a lithium hydroxide production plant in Thunder Bay, now projected to start in the fourth quarter of 2027. It would follow a two-year run-up of engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of the facility.

Now, as in 2020, Avalon’s has yet to finalize the acquisition of land in the city for the processing plant. Three years ago, Avalon emerged as a frontrunner to build and run a lithium chemical refinery in the northwestern Ontario city by 2022 through a project partnership with Rock Tech Lithium, a collaboration that’s since dissolved.

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