The North American auto industry’s plan to wean itself off reliance on foreign minerals just got a huge boost thanks to news from Snow Lake Lithium.
The mining company has only explored 1 percent of its Manitoba, Canada, site but is already confident it can produce sufficient raw materials to facilitate the build of 5 million new EVs on the continent.
Production outputs are likely to rise as the company explores more of the 55,000-acre location, but current estimates of 160,000 tonnes of 6 percent lithium spodumene each year over a 10-year period should be enough to provide the batteries for 500,000 EVs built annually over the same timeframe.
The company is currently still carrying out engineering evaluations but expects mining to start in 2025, which will come as a relief to American automakers and consumers who are under financial and political pressure to build and buy EVs built in North America using batteries also manufactured in the region.
Related: California Has A Single Lake With More Lithium Than The Country Currently Needs
“As we rapidly transition to electrification, it’s essential for the future of the North American automotive industry that we build a rock-to-road battery supply chain,” said Philip Gross, CEO Snow Lake Lithium about the news.
“Local sourcing of critical raw materials, such as lithium, is the only logical step to create a vertically integrated domestic supply chain. Snow Lake Lithium has access to a rich lithium resource and is on the doorstep of North American manufacturers.”
Gross highlights that having access to vital minerals in North America that can be transported via the Arctic Gate Railway and U.S. rail network rather than imported from China simplifies logistics and reduces emissions created in the production process. What he didn’t say, but what the U.S. government and automakers know, is that cutting China out puts North American car production on a much more stable footing.
Whether eco-conscious Canadians living close to the mining site will be so enthusiastic about having the operation on their doorstep is another matter, although the job opportunities the operation will be bringing will certainly be welcome.