Green Technology Metals is one of four Australian exploration companies that have embarked on Thunder Bay within the last 18 months.
The arrival of these companies is an indication of the flourishing mining sector in the North that is looking to Thunder Bay as its hub.
The Australian company is so far advanced in its exploration and “due diligence” that they are optimistic that their Seymour exploration project, just east of Armstrong, could be the first operation to begin extracting lithium in Ontario, subject to Indigenous approval.
Their second Root Lake project is located near Sioux Lookout.
Andrea Johnstone, the environmental, social and governance manager with Green Technology Metals, says they want to have options for future lithium projects.
With an emphasis on “green” technology, the company is advancing with studies on a lithium processing facility in Thunder Bay.
“Then we’ll ship it to southern Ontario via rail or ship to be converted into electric vehicle batteries,” she said. “The carbon footprint is significantly lower and you are possibly looking at the greenest lithium in the world.”
Andrew Kane, the natural resources business development manager with the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission, said “think of the multibillion-dollar battery plants that are going to be built in southern Ontario. If you ship lithium from Australia, the carbon footprint would be immense from shipping, but if it’s processed here and we only have to ship into southern Ontario, the carbon footprint is miniscule.”
Johnstone has spent more than 13 years in the Australian mining industry, which is the world leader in lithium mining. She says the goal to conduct operations in an environmentally friendly manner for the mining industry is to be carbon neutral by 2030. She said there is much work being done to find renewable energy sources, making sure that their power supply is environmentally friendly and the carbon footprint is lowered through shipping, tracking and processing lithium.
Johnstone says their Northern projects are of significant interest, with much of their progress attributed to close working relationships with Indigenous partners.
“We are in the approvals process at the Seymour project,” she said. “It’s very important for us to consult with our Indigenous partners and we wouldn’t be where we are today without the relationship that we have with them. It all depends on our consultation with these communities and we look forward to progressing with our approvals within the next 12 months.”
The exploration company has 45,000 hectares of claims staked out in Northern Ontario, with the two projects currently running.
“We took over these companies from Ardiden Ltd., an Australian mineral exploration company that was originally exploring for gold at these properties,” she said. “At our Seymour project, we’ve drilled about 30,000 metres so far and we are sitting on approximately 9.9 million tonnes of lithium oxide at this point with another mineral resource coming out shortly. So we are very advanced with that project and we’re three years into our environmental baseline surveys — so things are looking really positive there.”
Meanwhile, Johnstone says there are ongoing discussions with various companies looking to explore processing lithium in Thunder Bay.
“There is a lot of potential for economic development for Thunder Bay and projects like this could have a positive impact on the community,” she said.
By Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Mar 22, 2023