Canada is poised to change into a significant provider of lithium to North America because the auto trade transitions from fossil fuels to electrical autos over the following few years, and a mine in northern Manitoba is poised to profit.
Final week, each Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz signed materials offers with Canada for lithium that can be utilized within the lithium-ion batteries wanted for his or her electrical vehicles. Which means extra enterprise for Philip Gross, CEO and president of Snow Lake Lithium, who says the world has come round to the once-defunct steel.
“Till the final three or 4 years, lithium was a really unpopular commodity, it wasn’t talked about in any respect,” Gross stated.
Now, he says they can not eat it quick sufficient.
“The demand for lithium far outstrips the precise provide out there on this planet proper now,” he stated. “And far of the lithium on this planet at this time — no less than 85 p.c — is managed by China.”
Gross says the cope with Volkswagen and Mercedes will doubtless be the primary of many, because the world strikes from fossil fuels to a completely electrical automobile (EV) world. “It is not simply EVs. Finally, if this expertise improves, it should be aviation, it should be marine, and it should be vitality storage.”
Based on Gross, Manitoba is the perfect place for lithium mining.
“We’re blessed and lucky to be positioned within the province of Manitoba … powered by Manitoba Hydro, which supplies us a 98 p.c renewable vitality supply,” he stated.
Gross plans to make use of that energy to function a completely electrical mining operation with all on-site autos and tools. He says the mine can produce 160,000 kilos of lithium a yr, sufficient to produce half 1,000,000 EV batteries.
He says that is what number of electrical autos have been offered in Canada final yr, however by 2025-26, EV gross sales will likely be within the thousands and thousands.
“It’s totally, very consumer-driven proper now. It is a fascinating commodity that individuals wish to have … and that is placing stress on the system,” Gross stated.
He says that environmentally sustainable mining is necessary.
“If you are going to be within the provide chain of manufacturing electrical autos, we strongly imagine that in case your philosophy is aligned with that, it’s good to be actually conscious of your carbon impression, as a result of customers are demanding it at this time.”
Gross believes that sooner or later, EVs may have a carbon impression quantity on a show much like the energy listed on a chocolate bar.
He believes Canada is poised to change into not solely a significant provider of lithium, but additionally a producing hub for EVs.
Gross says he had the possibility to talk with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he signed the cope with Volkswagen and Mercedes.
“He was fast to reply to precisely this level — Canada now has a possibility for this artistic destruction that we’ll see within the trade … to profit the whole trade that is centered in Canada.”