The world’s first all-electric lithium mine is coming to Canada
Lithium batteries, used in electric vehicles and other devices, are in great demand as the world pushes toward decarbonization. However, we are starting to see that the material is in short supply.
There’s enough lithium in the ground but it’s not coming out at fast enough rates. It has been estimated that by 2030, even if all existing mines continue at their normal rate of production, there still will be barely enough metal to satisfy half of the global demand.
Now, one new company is planning to do something about it, according to an interview published by New Atlas on Wednesday. The media outlet spoke to Snow Lake Lithium CEO Philip Gross, who plans to launch the world's first all-electric lithium mine in Canada.
He said that the incoming lithium shortage is plain for everyone to see. "Anyone who doesn't see this coming is putting their head in the sand," Gross told New Atlas.
Insane consumer demand for EVs
"And it's not just top down, governments pushing this on consumers. The consumer demand for EVs is already insane. We have a new generation who are finally conscious about these issues, and they want to do something about it," explained Gross.
"These people are already putting their names on two-year waiting lists for electric cars, they're putting the payment down and waiting literally years for their cars. It's wild. And it's the tip of the iceberg, because all the electric cars you're seeing now are high end – US$50-60-grand cars minimum. We're gonna get down to the US$30-grand car soon."
The majority of the world's known lithium resources are located in Australia and South America while China delivers somewhere around 80 percent of the world's batteries. This makes it very hard for the Western world to catch up especially since lithium has only become a desired commodity in the last few years.
A newly developed interest
"Nobody was interested in lithium for decades," explained Gross. "No money was spent on it, and no money was spent on ecosystems. If you bring lithium out of the ground in North America, you can't do anything with it unless you send it to China."
However, Snow Lake Lithium plans to address that issue through an MoU with Korean battery giant LG.
The company will build a hydroxide processing plant nearby, that will be able to process the material uncovered by the lithium plant and turn it into battery-grade lithium ready for the gigafactories.
Snow Lake Lithium’s website states that the new firm is “committed to operating a fully renewable and sustainable lithium mine that can deliver a completely traceable, carbon neutral and zero harm product to the electric vehicle and battery market in North America.”
The new factory will be powered by 100% renewable energy and will be the first fully electric lithium mine. It is expected to produce 160,000 tonnes per annum of 6% lithium spodumene concentrate over an 8 to 10 year period.
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