Charged EVs | Quebec lithium mine faces many hurdles to succeed in manufacturing


As EV adoption grows, it’s plain that extra EV uncooked supplies will must be mined and processed in North America (and Europe). However bringing a brand new mine into manufacturing is a prolonged course of with many potential pitfalls alongside the best way.

A lithium mine within the pine forests northwest of Montreal offers an instance of the challenges, as reported by the New York Occasions. The ability, which is operated by Australia-based Sayona Mining, is scheduled to open early subsequent 12 months.

At Sayona’s La Corne mine, lithium-containing rock is blasted unfastened and crushed, then processed in a number of phases to take away waste materials. Jets of compressed air separate the lithium ore, which is then refined in vats of detergent, the place the lithium floats to the floor and is skimmed off. The tip product, which incorporates about 6 % lithium, will likely be despatched to refineries, most of them in China, for additional purification.

Because the Occasions experiences, dozens of lithium mines are in numerous phases of improvement in Canada and the US, however most of those initiatives are years away from manufacturing, and a few might fail to succeed in their potential for numerous causes.

The La Corne mine offers some examples of what might go unsuitable. Over time, it has had a number of homeowners, a few of whom have gone bankrupt. Funding for the years-long technique of growing a mine is linked to the gyrations of commodities markets. A decline in lithium costs between 2017 to 2020 prompted the mine’s earlier proprietor, Chinese language battery maker CATL, to close down operations.

Most observers imagine that demand for lithium and different battery uncooked supplies is ready to soar. (A sure CEO of a sure automaker known as Tesla lately known as lithium mining and processing “a license to print cash.”)

Others usually are not so certain. Sayona’s inventory, which trades on the Australian Securities Alternate, has bobbed up and down like a cork over the previous few months.

“These of us within the business are fairly assured that lithium will likely be in brief provide for the following decade,” Keith Phillips, CEO of Piedmont Lithium, which owns 25 % of Sayona’s Quebec undertaking, informed the Occasions. “Others are taking a contrarian view.”

Opposition from environmental teams or close by residents can gradual or cease initiatives. There are many mines within the space round La Corne—iron, nickel, copper, zinc, gold—and based on the Occasions, most locals help the lithium mine, however a major minority oppose it. A inexperienced group known as MiningWatch Canada is pushing to make sure that the Sayona mine undergoes stringent environmental evaluations. Lengthy Level First Nation, an Indigenous group, says the mine is on its ancestral territory, and needs to conduct its personal environmental affect research.

Sébastien Lemire, who represents the area in Canada’s Parliament, is an EV driver, and helps the mine. “If we don’t do it, we’re lacking the chance of the electrification of transport,” he informed the Occasions. Nevertheless, he praised activists for being “vigilant” about environmental requirements, and famous that he needs to make it possible for the revenue from lithium mining stays in Quebec.

Supply: New York Occasions


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