Mining the Northwest: How Northern Ontario’s first lithium mine and refinery project could come together – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – July 4, 2023)

Avalon Advanced Materials gets back on the hop in striking partnership deals, expediting government approvals to feed the electric vehicle industry

Zeeshan Syed claims Avalon Advanced Materials is out to create a “catalytic event” in selecting a site in Thunder Bay to place Ontario’s first proposed lithium processing refinery. After years of much talk and little action, the Toronto-based junior miner took a great leap forward in June with the announcement that a former forest products mill site in the city’s north end is the spot for a lithium hydroxide conversion plant.

Avalon also introduced a joint venture partnership with Antwerp-headquartered Sibelco, a deal that brings $63-million to the table to bring Separation Rapids, its Kenora-area lithium deposit, into production by late 2025, early 2026.

Refinery production in Thunder Bay looks to start in the fourth quarter of 2027, following a two-year run-up of engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning. It offers the promise of a combined 500 jobs in Kenora and Thunder Bay.

Now the company is looking to land a second development partner to help make the Thunder Bay lithium plant a reality. Discussions are ongoing. Avalon experienced a changing of guard this past spring with the retirement of long-time president-CEO Don Bubar and the arrival of Zeehad Syed and a new management team.

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