Another Lithium Project Planned in Canada


Avalon Advanced Materials and Metso Corp. reached a memorandum of understanding this week to develop a lithium hydroxide production facility in the Canadian province of Ontario – primarily to provide battery cathode material for electric vehicles.

The non-binding agreement between the Canadian and Finnish mining companies did not mention a cost for the project, capacity for the prospective facility or a timeline. The companies did say they intend to negotiate a final agreement later this year.

The project joins a growing number of initiatives around the world aimed at meeting the lithium demand surge caused by the rapid growth in EV sales. Though motivated by the rise of EVs, such projects would help ease developing shortages of lithium for other uses, including thickeners used in the manufacture of automotive and industrial greases.

According to the July 11 announcement by Metso and Avalon, the latter company would license technology from the former to process raw lithium into lithium hydroxide cathode materials. The technology would be deployed at a plant that Avalon is developing in the western Ontario city of Kenora. Avalon, a start-up headquartered in Toronto, plans to source the raw lithium from native Canadian lands further north.

China currently has one commercial lithium mine, a site operated in northern Manitoba province by China-based Sinomine Resource Group. All of the output from that facility is shipped to China.

Australia’s Allkem is developing another site on James Bay in northern Ontario. It is scheduled to begin operating in 2024.

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