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Ontario supporting innovation in Critical Minerals Sector

May 31, 2021

Pilot project could lead to future large-scale lithium chemical plant in northern Ontario

The Ontario government is investing $363,000 in Frontier Lithium to help the emerging Greater Sudbury-based junior mining company demonstrate its new innovative extraction process for lithium. This investment will support jobs and opportunities in the mining sector, promote economic development in the north and highlight Ontario’s high mineral development potential.

“We are investing in innovative mining and refining technology developed right here in northern Ontario,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. “Our government’s investment in Frontier Lithium strengthens the development of our Critical Minerals Strategy and our position to become the supplier, producer and manufacturer of choice for certain critical minerals. There’s a growing global market for reliable, responsibly sourced critical minerals, and we want Ontario to be the first jurisdiction on everybody’s mind.”

Frontier Lithium’s demonstration could lead to the establishment of a commercial-scale lithium chemical plant in northern Ontario, and potentially create 500 jobs during the two-year construction phase and more than 150 jobs once the plant is operational. Mining and milling operations to sustain the plant would also support another 100 jobs and provide regional supply chain security.

“This strategic investment strengthens Frontier Lithium’s ability to assess new and emerging technologies so that we can best deliver high-quality lithium battery materials while reducing waste and energy,” said Trevor Walker, Frontier Lithium President & CEO. “The timely support of the Ontario government further reinforces our vision and value-proposition to build an integrated local mining and battery materials supplier for the electric vehicle industry from one of North America’s largest and highest-grade lithium resources.”

Lithium is the lightest of the rare elements and is mostly supplied from pegmatite rocks or brines. Due to lithium’s high electrochemical potential, it is used in most battery-operated items, such as smartphones, laptop computers and electric vehicles. Lithium is also used in glass and ceramics to increase strength and durability, especially at high temperatures.

Funding for this project is being delivered through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC). The NOHFC promotes economic prosperity across northern Ontario by providing financial assistance to projects—big and small, rural and urban—that stimulate recovery, growth, job creation and skills development. Since June 2018, the NOHFC has invested more than $309 million in 3,050 projects in northern Ontario, leveraging more than $1.1 billion in investment and creating or sustaining over 4,770 jobs.


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