Avalon dives into the details of proposed Thunder Bay lithium refinery – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – April 12, 2024)


Toronto developer begins study of what a lithium conversion plant might look like

Avalon Advanced Materials has started a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) of its proposed Thunder Bay lithium refinery. The Toronto company said in a news release that DRA Americas, an internationally known engineering firm, is the lead consultant tasked with pulling the PEA together.

The PEA is part of a series of economic and technical analyses that will inform Avalon’s decision to construct the facility. Avalon secured $15 million from a New York fund manager in March to do the study.

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Tesla supplier Piedmont Lithium gets key North Carolina mining permit – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters – April 15, 2024)


April 15 (Reuters) – North Carolina regulators have approved a state mining permit for Tesla (TSLA.O), opens new tab supplier Piedmont Lithium to develop one of the largest U.S. sources of the key electric vehicle battery metal, although key financing and local regulatory challenges remain.

The approval from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, which was announced by the company on Monday and is conditional on the posting of a $1 million reclamation bond, removes a major hurdle to Piedmont’s plans to tap a large lithium deposit just outside Charlotte.

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Gina Rinehart-Backed Lithium Hopeful Surges After Pilot Batch – by Paul-Alain Hunt (Bloomberg News – April 10, 2024)


(Bloomberg) — Australia-listed lithium developer Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd. has gained nearly 40% this week after announcing its first viable output using direct-extraction technology, an emerging technique for producing the battery material.

The firm’s demonstration plant in Landau, Germany, delivered a batch of lithium chloride in line with the quality it eventually plans to make commercially, Vulcan said in a statement on Thursday. The firm backed by Australia’s richest woman Gina Rinehart has agreements to supply European carmakers including Stellantis, Renault SA, and Volkswagen AG.

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Green Rush panel: Is there willingness to pay a premium for responsibly sourced minerals? (Kitco.com – April 9, 2024)


(Kitco News) – Environmental, social, governance (ESG) initiatives are further delaying mining projects while critical metals are in high demand, creating tension within the mining industry, says Matt Watson, founder of Precious Metals Commodity Management LLC.

The other problem is that metals necessary for the green transition are difficult to process, namely nickel, cobalt and rare earths. On April 3, Watson recorded an episode of Green Rush with guests James Gavilan, principal of Gavilan Commodities, and Lyle Trytten, president of Trytten Consulting Services. The subject was ESG in the context of scaling responsibly mined minerals.

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Renard Diamond Mine to Be Repurposed for Lithium – by Leah Meirovich (Rapaport Magazine – April 4, 2024)


Winsome Resources has signed an agreement to acquire the Renard diamond mine and its infrastructure, with plans to convert it into a processing facility for its Adina Lithium project. Subject to approval by a Quebec Court, Winsome will pay Renard owner Stornoway Diamonds a total of CAD 52 million ($38.5 million) in cash, shares in the company, or a combination of both, it said Wednesday.

The lithium miner will have until September 30 to gain approval, with the option to extend to February 28, 2025. Winsome will not assume any of Stornoway’s financial obligations other than mine rehabilitation, it noted. Stornoway will keep any remaining diamond inventory and equipment directly associated with diamond mining.

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America’s lithium laws fail to keep pace with rapid development – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters – March 25, 2024)


March 25 (Reuters) – Washington’s drive to make the United States a major global lithium producer is being held back by a confusing mix of state regulations that are deterring developers and hampering efforts to break China’s control of the critical minerals sector.

Across Texas, Louisiana and other mineral-rich states, it’s unclear who owns the millions of metric tons of lithium locked in salty brines underneath U.S. soils, how the battery metal should be valued by regulators and who ultimately should pay to process it into a form usable by manufacturers.

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Mining the Northwest: ‘Times are changing’ as Red Rock preps for lithium refinery – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – March 20, 2024)


Rock Tech Lithium expects to break ground on lithium conversion plant in 2025

The BMI Group said it’s spending millions to prepare and remediate the former Red Rock paper mill site to make it shovel-ready for new industrial use by 2025. The southern Ontario brownfield redeveloper chose the PDAC mining show to formally announce Rock Tech Lithium will be its anchor tenant built around a proposed lithium refinery.

The Canadian-German mining company’s Georgia Lake deposit is only 60 kilometres north of town, up Highway 11. “We believe in the north shore of Lake Superior,” said Peter Whitby, general manager of BMI’s Red Rock Developments subsidiary, in explaining their upcoming industrial and holistic community-building plans for the north shore town on Lake Superior.

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Surviving the white gold rush – life in the ‘lithium triangle’ – by Alberto Mazzieri (Al Jazeera – March 16, 2024)


‘We won’t have electric cars,’ say local communities ravaged by lithium mining for car batteries.

Calcha K, Bolivia – Teófila Cayo Calcina, 56, stands among her rows of quinoa plants, pointing towards the horizon. “The lithium plant is 50km in that direction. We are worried that the mining could leave us with not enough water to survive,” she says, clearly disheartened.

Calcina lives with her husband in one of the houses overlooking the central square of the tiny village of Calcha K, an hour’s walk from her quinoa fields, where she grows quinoa real, a variety which is native to the Uyuni region of Bolivia and is considered a “superfood” in Western countries such as the US and Europe.

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US to Offer Record Loan for Lithium Americas Project in Nevada – by Ari Natter (Bloomberg News – March 13, 2024)


(Bloomberg) — The Biden administration is offering a $2.26 billion loan to help Lithium Americas Corp. develop a Nevada lithium deposit that’s the country’s largest.

The conditional loan from the US Department of Energy will provide the vast majority of the capital needed to fund the first phase of development, the Vancouver-based company said in a statement Thursday, confirming an earlier Bloomberg News report. Shares of Lithium Americas jumped 28% in New York trading and 18% in Toronto as of 9:32 a.m.

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Strolling down Ontario’s Electric Avenue – by Tamer Elbokl, PhD (Canadian Mining Journal – March 4, 2024)


The global demand for lithium is projected to reach 1.5 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) by 2025 and over three million tonnes by 2030. As the world moves away from fossil fuels, the world needs a stable supply of quality lithium to achieve a low-carbon future, and Canada needs lithium (among other critical minerals) to achieve its net-zero target.

In 2022, the government of Ontario announced its first critical minerals strategy, aiming to secure the province’s position as a global leader of responsibly sourced critical minerals, including lithium. The provincial government plan is to work alongside all stakeholders including the federal government, the mining sector, manufacturing Indigenous Peoples, and local communities.

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Oil Fields of Arkansas Are the Newest Locations for a Lithium Battery Rush – by Boyce Upholt (Mother Jones – March 11, 2024)


“Production at existing sites could negate the benefits of the clean technologies they power.”

The town of Smackover, Arkansas, was founded a hundred years ago when a sawmill operator got lucky: his wildcat oil well yielded a gusher. For a time in the 1920s, the oil field beneath the clay hills and swampy creeks in this stretch of southern Arkansas was the world’s most productive site. Now, boosters say the region will help usher the world into an oil-free future, thanks to the discovery of underground brines that are rich in lithium.

Lithium is one of the most important metals in the transition to renewable power. Lithium-ion batteries are, thanks to their lightweight and high energy density, currently the top choice for storing energy in electric vehicles, and a potential tool for grid storage, too. Global production of the metal tripled throughout the 2010s, and demand is projected to increase as much as 40-fold by mid-century.

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Gulf oil giants Saudi Aramco, Adnoc set sights on lithium (Mining.com – March 11, 2024)


Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates’ national oil companies plan to extract lithium from brine in their oilfields, in line with efforts to diversify their economies and profit from the shift to electric vehicles (EVs), three sources told Reuters.

Other oil companies, including Exxon Mobil and Occidental Petroleum, plan to take advantage of emerging technologies to filter lithium from brine, as the world seeks to move away from fossil fuels.

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China strengthens its grip on global lithium trade amid processing plant building boom in Zimbabwe – by Jevans Nyabiage (South China Morning Post – March 10, 2024)


China is getting a head start in the global rush for lithium after several mining companies completed multimillion-dollar processing plants for the “white gold” in Zimbabwe.

Major Chinese companies, including Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt, Sinomine Resource Group and Chengxin Lithium Group, all completed the construction or upgrade of lithium processing plants in Zimbabwe last year.

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Kazakhstan positions itself for lithium windfall (Eurasianet.org – March 6, 2024)


The National Geological Service says the country has lithium reserves of around 75,600 tons.

Kazakhstan is positioning itself as an important potential global supplier of high-quality lithium just as demand surges for the mineral, which is indispensable for the booming power-storage technology industry. The auspices are good, although few firm investment commitments have materialized.

Speaking at a conference in Seoul on March 5, researchers from the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources announced that they had discovered sizable lithium reserves in an area of eastern Kazakhstan.

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Vancouver lithium company announces investor interest from China, despite Ottawa’s warnings – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – March 7, 2024)


Another deep-pocketed China-based buyer is attempting to invest in a Canadian critical-minerals company, even as Ottawa fires a warning shot that it is monitoring such deals closely, and prepared to intervene.

On Tuesday, Vancouver-based Lithium Americas Argentina Corp. (Lithium Argentina) said it had attracted a US$70-million investment from China-based Ganfeng Lithium, which would see it take a 15-per-cent stake in its Pastos Grandes project.

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