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Federal Cabinet Ministers tour Avalon's lithium processing site in Thunder Bay

Oct 13, 2023

Consistent with its strategic objective to build Ontario's first vertically integrated lithium supply chain serving the North American EV battery market, Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. hosted the Hon. François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Hon. Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and FedNor and other officials for a private tour of the Company's planned lithium processing site in Thunder Bay, ON.

Visit Highlights:

  • The ministers were joined by Marcus Powlowski, MP for Thunder Bay-Rainy River.
  • The delegation toured Avalon's 383-acre industrial property on Strathcona Avenue that features major transportation infrastructure including, road, rail and deep-water port access. 
  • The Avalon team provided the delegation with details of its burgeoning project plan for an Industrial Park concept that includes Ontario's first lithium processing facility, an Innovation, Technology and R&D Hub as well as lithium battery recycling capabilities, all of which will help catalyze Ontario's economy, generate long-term job growth and deploy sustainable innovative process technology.

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François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, speaks to reporters at Avalon’s Strathcona industrial property in Thunder Bay, Ontario on October 12, 2023. 

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From left: Zeeshan Syed, President, Avalon Advanced Materials, Inc., François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Jim Jaques, Chief Administrative Officer, Avalon, Marcus Powlowski, Member of Parliament, Thunder Bay-Rainy River. 

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"We are extremely pleased to host the ministers and other dignitaries to showcase how far we've come in actualizing our vision to help decarbonize the economy and shift Canada to cleaner sources of energy-and underscore that we must continue to move quickly in order to secure Canada's leading position in the global race to net-zero," Zeeshan Syed, President of Avalon, said. 

"Avalon is developing the province's first domestic supply chain that will link the considerable lithium deposits of Ontario's north to an expanding EV battery manufacturing base in the south, which at present lacks a stable, regional supply of this strategically vital resource." 

Significant investment has been made in rapidly expanding the downstream capacity of Ontario and North America's EV battery manufacturing base. A proportionate level of financing is now required to develop a secure, fully on-shored supply of lithium raw material to manufacturers. Avalon's core strategic objective is to build the midstream lithium processing solution in Thunder Bay that bridges the lithium resources of Northwestern Ontario with EV battery manufacturing in the south. 

"As proud Canadians, our vision is that lithium should be mined in Ontario, refined in Ontario, and consumed in Ontario," added Jim Jaques, Avalon Chief Administrative officer. "On a North American level, and from a decarbonisation perspective, a lower carbon domestic supply source is paramount. We intend to generate long-term job growth and economic benefits for the region and province, both directly through our own commercial activities, and indirectly by attracting the capital necessary to commercialize other regional lithium projects." 

Avalon Supply Chain Overview 

  • Over 500 direct jobs are expected to be created in Thunder Bay and Kenora, ON. Through Avalon's upstream and midstream commercial activities. 
  • The Avalon processing facility in Thunder Bay will operate as a regional hub, helping generate associated investment flow across Ontario.
  • Thunder Bay is ideally positioned as the geographic bridge between the lithium resources of Ontario's northwest and the EV battery and EV battery manufacturing in the south.
  • Avalon's Industrial Park in Thunder Bay will also host an Innovation, Technology and R&D Hub in collaboration with local and regional educational institutions (Lakehead University and Confederation College).

Innovative, Sustainable Processing
Avalon is diligently working with leading international partners to test and co-create novel commercial production processes that will help accentuate Canada's environmental leadership. Through the R&D efforts undertaken by Avalon and partners, the proprietary lithium hydroxide process is vastly less pollutive than conventional acid roasting conversion methodologies. The process operates in an alkaline state and utilizes a pressure leaching process which is unique for lithium conversion, allowing for the elimination of sulfuric acid use, and therefore no production of sodium sulphate as a biproduct. Instead, a substance called Analcime-an inert solid aluminium silicate-is produced, as well as calcium carbonate. Both substances have use in industrial building applications and industries. The method also reduces overall air emissions compared to conventional hydroxide production.

In addition, it is expected to be a safer process for the operating personnel, the environment and community in general compared to the traditional acid roasting technology employed in jurisdictions with less stringent commitments to environmental stewardship compared to North America. 

About Avalon Advanced Materials Inc.

Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. is a Canadian mineral development company focused on vertically integrating the Ontario lithium supply chain. The Company, through its joint venture with Sibelco NV, is currently developing its Separation Rapids lithium deposit near Kenora, ON, while also continuing to advance the Lilypad and Snowbank lithium projects located near Fort Hope, ON. Avalon is also working to develop its Nechalacho rare earths and zirconium project located in the Northwest Territories. This deposit contains critical minerals for use in advanced technologies in the communications and defense industries among other sectors. 


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