Will Thunder Bay become the Lithium processing hub for the North American EV supply chain?
Posted on: August 25, 2022

Photo from Green Technology Metals showing the rail access close to the Seymour project

The climate crisis is tapping on our shoulders and governments are pushing for the movement from gas-powered vehicles to electric-powered ones.

This move cannot be done without one particular metal, lithium. Lithium is the lightest metal in the world. It has an atomic number of 3, meaning there are 3 protons. Lithium has 1 electron it’s an outer orbit which makes it want to react whenever and wherever possible. Due to its reactive nature, pure lithium is typically only found in lab scenarios. In nature, lithium is found in rock formations such as lithium pegmatites.

Thunder Bay has been known for its forestry industry. Located in the middle of the boreal forest and being the only metropolitan area for hours, made Thunder Bay the place to be if you wanted to do forestry in Ontario. But forestry is no longer booming the way it once was in order to protect our forests and harvest at a sustainable rate. Forestry is still a critical industry, but harvesting methods and rates have changed from the early days.

This time around, it’s not forests that are of interest, but lithium. With Thunder Bay and the surrounding area being located on the Canadian Shield, there are many lithium deposits that companies are hoping to mine. Thunder Bay is looking to become North America’s lithium processing chain to support the North American electric vehicle supply chain.

Green Technology Metals from Australia is planning to fast-track one of its properties in the Armstrong area and make Thunder Bay a regional lithium processing hub.

Green Technology Metals isn’t the only company with its sight set on Thunder Bay. Avalon Advanced Materials is also hoping to have a lithium processing plant in Thunder Bay. Frontier Lithium from Sudbury also has deposits close by and could have an additional processing plant located in Thunder Bay.

Due to Thunder Bay’s access to port and rail access, coupled with its close proximity to the lithium source, Thunder Bay is looking to become the hub to service the North American electric vehicle supply chain.

Avalon has an ambitious goal of refinery construction starting in 2023 for the mine 70 kilometers north of Kenora and hopes to have lithium hydroxide hitting the market in 2026.

Green Technology Metals also hopes to go into production by the first quarter of 2024 for its Seymour project located close to Armstrong, ON.

The Canadian government has pledged to increase funding to Canada’s mineral and mining industry to transition to a net-zero future.

Thunder Bay is looking to become the lithium mining center of the North American electric vehicle supply chain with the goal of hitting net zero emissions by 2050.