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Snow Lake Lithium Part 1: “More Lithium, Please!” on CleanTech Talk

The EV revolution needs clean lithium mining if it’s going to make a big impact on climate change.

Zachary Shahan couldn’t make this episode, but Snow Lake Lithium CEO Philip Gross was good enough to join me on the latest episode of CleanTech Talk to talk about rare Earth elements, the global demand for lithium, and the environmental impact of lithium mining. If that sounds like an awful lot to pack into one episode— you’re right! Settle in for part 1 of “More lithium, please!”

CleanTech Talk | Dealer Digest

Image courtesy Snow Lake Lithium.

We first engage Phil on the name of his company, Snow Lake Lithium, and the fact that it’s— well, outside of Snow Lake in Manitoba, Canada. We get into things pretty quickly, but it’s worth knowing that most lithium extraction is incredibly expensive. That’s not just a comment on the financial costs of mining lithium, but the environmental costs of finding, extracting, processing, and transporting lithium from Chinese and Latin American mines to the factories in North America where it’s turned into batteries for EVs.

That’s why Snow Lake is so interesting. They’re promising to be a “no-harm” producer of lithium that uses hydroelectric power, fully electrified mining equipment, and light rail (vs. marine and truck transport) to minimize the environmental cost of extracting lithium from the ground with “hard rock” mining, as opposed to the conventional “brine” extraction process that could endanger natural water supplies. What’s more, they think they can do so in a cost-competitive manner.

 

Show Notes “More Lithium, Please!” Pt. 1

We talk about consumers being willing to pay more for Fair Trade coffees and products, and even more so when there’s transparency and traceability. I talked to FarmerConnect CEO Dave Behrends about this a few months ago, and think it’s worth a repeat read.

We mention the Snow Lake deck that Phil sent me before we recorded— it’s packed with information and generally good reading for anyone interested in lithium mining for electric vehicle batteries. You can download it here.

Here’s a great article that shows what lithium brine ponds look like. There is still some controversy about the impacts of brine ponds, but my (unqualified) take? That can’t be good.

Polestar is pushing to be truly carbon-neutral, not with offsets. You can read more about Polestar 0 and the company’s efforts to reduce their environmental impact here.

 

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I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and have been a part of the Important Media Network since 2008. You can find me here, working on my Volvo fansite, riding a motorcycle around Chicago, or chasing my kids around Oak Park.

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