Snow Lake Lithium just announced the receipt of a $158,000 (Canadian) grant from the Manitoba Mineral Development Fund to help fund the company’s ongoing winter drilling campaign. The money will help fund the transition from ice road trucking of drilling materials to heliportable drilling over the spring and summer months.
Snow Lake Lithium is hugely important for the North American auto industry, which currently has no domestic source for the lithium it needs to produce the millions and millions of electric vehicles it will have to in order to— well, exist into the next decade. Beyond that, Snow Lake Lithium is unique because they’re planning to extract lithium using what’s called “hard rock” mining, as opposed to the controversial “slurry mining” method that could endanger water supplies and reservoirs.
What’s more, the company plans to be fully carbon-neutral and “zero harm” (their words) when they become fully operational over the next eighteen to twenty-four months. They’ll accomplish that with a closed water loop, a hydro-electric power source, and the exclusive use of battery-electric mining rigs and equipment. And if you think all that sounds like it’s going to cost a lot more than $158,000 to accomplish— you’re right!
A previous grant from the Manitoba Mineral Development Fund of $62,000 ( Snow Lake Lithium Ltd. Receives Government Grant for CAD $62,000 ) was used in an ongoing geographic drone campaign (Snow Lake Lithium’s First Results from Drone Mag Survey Identify Multiple Anomalies and Prospective Targets on Sherritt Gordon). But more, of course, will be needed as the Snow Lake mine ramps up. But Snow Lake Lithium CEO, Phil Gross, believes the reward will be there in the end.
“We are facing a once-in-a-century industrial pivot as North America accelerates towards an electrified future,” said Gross, in a statement. “If we don’t act now to secure a seamless lithium supply chain from rock to road, the North American car industry will not exist in 10 years’ time. Our ambition is to become the first fully integrated, carbon neutral lithium hydroxide provider to the North American electric vehicle industry. We are developing the world’s first all-electric lithium mine, operated by renewable power, and are currently looking for a joint venture partner to create a lithium hydroxide processing plant in the region.”
Finding Snow Lake
Philip was gracious enough to join us for an upcoming episode(s!) of CleanTech Talk, where he’ll be talking about his company, the state of lithium mining as-a-whole, and to share his unique insight on what the major North Americans will need to do in order to truly compete with the Chinese— who don’t exactly seem to be “in a hurry” to share that country’s lithium resources with the US. Mexico and Chile, too, are making moves to nationalize their natural resources and build “walls” around them.
That’s all good news to Gross. Based on Snow Lake Lithium’s initial surveys, the 55,000 acre site will produce more than 160,000 tons of 6% lithium spodumene (?) per year for at least a decade, and (before getting this grant) the company has only explored about 1% of its site, and almost everyone involved is confident that the numbers will grow over the course of the next year.
You can check out some of Snow Lake Lithium’s presentation materials, below, then scroll on down to the comments section at the bottom of the page and let us know what you think of their odds of future success, and the future of the North American OEMs.