Lithium is being hailed as a critical metal for the energy transition. A highly reactive element, it is an essential component for energy-dense rechargeable batteries, which are used in electronics, including laptops, cell phones, electric vehicles, and grid storage, amongst others. The demand for lithium-ion batteries has grown exponentially in recent years. This has propelled global expansion and enabled the growth of new lithium projects. It goes without saying that achieving net zero emissions will necessitate a high reliance on both new and recycled sources of lithium for batteries.
Canada’s lithium resources are distributed across the country and have been discovered in Québec, Ontario, Northwest Territories, Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Nunavut. The country has large hard rock spodumene deposits and brine-based lithium resources. Recognising its potential, the Canadian Government has designated lithium as a critical mineral for the renewable energy transition and wishes to become an important supplier.
The country’s favourable regulatory environment has drawn the attention of many stakeholders towards Canadian lithium. Here’s a roundup of some lithium projects in Canada:
Arbor Metals Discovers Pegmatite Dykes
On July 25, Arbor Metals Corp. announced that it had completed the inaugural prospecting program at its wholly-owned Jarnet Lithium project located in the St. James Bay region of Quebec. The helicopter-supported program found a corridor in the northern exploration area containing swarms of previously unmapped pegmatite dykes. These dykes are the principal host unit for lithium. Patriot Metals has had significant success in drill testing Pegmatite dykes at its Corvette Project which is adjacent to Arbor’s Jarnet project. Interestingly, the pegmatites in the northern exploration area were found to be highly texturized and crosscut by secondary veins which suggested several generations of mineral recrystallization. Visually-observed minerals of interest included tourmaline, coltan, green micas, recrystallized feldspars, garnets, and possibly spodumene.
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Updates on Bourier Lithium Project
At the company’s Bourier prospect, Lomiko and Critical Elements Lithium Corporation (Operator) have started the 2022 field exploration program. The expected duration of the field program is four weeks. Of particular interest are the lithium-tantalum-cesium anomalies as they represent an unprecedented discovery in the Bourier claim. This anomaly stretches along a 2.5 km long NE-trending mica-rich white pegmatites system. Structural interpretation by GoldSpot suggested that this lithium-tantalum-cesium trend may extend to the Lemare Li showing. The Bourier project site is located near Nemaska Lithium and Critical Elements south-east of the Eeyou Istchee James Bay territory in Quebec in Canada’s lithium triangle near the James Bay region of Quebec. This region has historically housed lithium deposits and mineralization trends.
Drilling at the “Elon” Lithium Project
The publicly traded exploration company Musk Metals announced that it was planning an eight-hole drill program to commence on its 100% owned “Elon” lithium project in Quebec. This project is located approximately 600 meters northeast of the Lithium Amérique du Nord project in Abitibi (Quebec). Intervention permits had previously been received on May 18th, 2022 for the opening of access trails and exploratory trenches. The permit will be reused for the drill program. The drilling work is expected to start in early August and will target magnetic anomalies along with possible sources of soil anomalies from recent surveys. Musk Metals has completed ground and airborne surveys as well as sampling. Two high priority lithium/tantalum targets have been identified in the southwest portion of the Elon Lithium Property.
Medaro set to optimize hard rock lithium recovery technique
Medaro Mining recently announced an update on the advancement of its hard-rock lithium recovery technology. The company aims to develop innovative spodumene processing technologies to support its lithium exploration projects in Canada. Medaro’s dual closed-loop thermochemical technology has been designed to rapidly extract lithium from spodumene and convert it to high-purity lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide and/or lithium metal. The method is stated to be compact, modular, highly scalable and amenable to deployment in remote geographic locations thereby making it exactly what Canadian spodumene needs. The technology also claims to reduce the costs of forming and purifying spodumene concentrate. Medaro currently holds options on the Superb Lake lithium property near Thunder Bay (Ontario) and the Cyr South lithium property in James Bay (Quebec).
Frontier Lithium drills at Spark pegmatite Frontier Lithium recently released the results for four drill holes which were completed during the Phase 12 drill program on the Spark pegmatite. The deposit is part of the company’s PAK lithium property located north of Red Lake (Ontario). Discovered in 2019, the Spark pegmatite deposit currently contains mineral resources of 14.4 million tonnes averaging 1.40% lithium oxide in the indicated category and 18.1 million tonnes averaging 1.37% lithium oxide in inferred. The Spark pegmatite is one of the two premium spodumene-bearing deposits which Frontier has delineated on the PAK project. The other deposit, namely the PAK deposit, is located 2.3 km away and has a mineral resource in measured, indicated and inferred categories of 9.3 million averaging 2.06% lithium oxide. The company had produced a preliminary economic assessment of the PAK project in 2021 that examined a fully integrated lithium operation. The project had been given an after-tax net present value (with an 8% discount) of US$974 million and an internal rate of return of 21%.