Avalon, Fort William First Nation to jointly develop lithium refinery in Ontario

A bulk sample of ore from the Separation Rapids project. (Image courtesy of Avalon Advanced Materials).

Avalon Advanced Materials (TSX: AVL) and the Fort William First Nation entered into a letter of intent to collaborate on the development of a lithium battery materials refinery located on industrial lands owned by the FWFN in Thunder Bay, Ontario. 

In a press release, the groups said that the facility would be designed to accept lithium mineral concentrates from Avalon’s Separation Rapids project and Rock Tech’s (TSX-V: RCK) Georgia Lake project, as well as potentially other mining operations in northern Ontario. The goal is to produce lithium hydroxide and other lithium battery materials. 

Construction is expected to begin in 2022, once the specific location is defined, necessary permits and authorizations are in place, and the engineering, site preparation and construction design studies have been conducted.

The anticipated initial design capacity will be to produce at least 15,000 tonnes per year of lithium hydroxide and/or lithium carbonate as well as lithium sulphate, the precursor chemical for making either the carbonate or hydroxide.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to create a new precedent for collaboration with Indigenous business toward establishing a lithium battery materials supply chain in Northern Ontario,” Avalon’s president and CEO, Don Bubar, said in the media brief. “I share FWFN Chief Peter Collins’ vision for how this operation can inspire other Indigenous businesses to become future suppliers of lithium mineral concentrates for the refinery and how FWFN can become the Hub of the North for all First Nation communities in Northwestern Ontario.”

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