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Avalon signs MoU with Metso to advance Ontario's first lithium processing facility

Avalon president Zeeshan Syed and Metso head of hydrometallurgy Mikko Rantaharju.

Avalon president Zeeshan Syed and Metso head of hydrometallurgy Mikko Rantaharju.

11th July 2023

By: Creamer Media Reporter

     

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Consistent with its strategy to become a North American vertically integrated lithium producer, Avalon Advanced Materials has signed a memorandum of understanding to create a strategic partnership with processing technology group Metso.

The agreement, signed at Canada House in London, will see the parties seek to establish terms to develop a lithium hydroxide production facility to process lithium mineral concentrates that are essential for the North American electric vehicle (EV) battery value chain. 

Avalon intends to deploy Metso's technology to construct and operationalise a full-service lithium processing facility at the recently acquired Thunder Bay, Ontario industrial site.

Upon completion of the project, Avalon will be the first vertically integrated lithium producer in Ontario, while ensuring Canada's EV battery manufacturing base has a stable, proximate and long-term supply of this strategically vital resource.

"Metso's platform and technological solutions perfectly complement Avalon's vision to complete an integrated lithium value chain in Ontario, predicated on innovative process solutions," said Avalon president Zeeshan Syed.

"We view Metso as an integral part of this rapidly growing sector, and a foundational partner in developing internationally best-in-class processing capabilities that are environmentally sustainable, allowing Avalon to meet the soaring demand for battery-grade lithium." 

Metso's sustainable next-generation production and processing technologies are being deployed internationally by governments and clean-energy producers in order to address and deliver the necessary supply required by the emerging EV battery industry. Avalon's strategic partnership with Metso is a first in Canada, and is a significant step towards helping the company execute on its vertically-integrated business strategy—and, in turn, entrench Ontario's position as an advanced manufacturing hub serving not only North America, but the world.

"Metso is looking forward to partnering with Avalon and being part of its long-term vision to be a mid-stream supplier in the lithium hydroxide space. We are aligned with Avalon's vision of the future and proud to play a key role in technology supply and advancement into clean energy solutions," said Mikko Rantaharju, head of hydrometallurgy at Metso.

"We are also extremely excited to be partnering with the first Ontario conversion facility with Metso's technology. The innovation advantages of the alkaline process allow for elimination of the use of potentially harmful chemicals such as sulfuric acid and comparatively reduce overall solid waste and emissions, making it environmentally friendlier and overall, safer for workers and local surrounding communities." 

The partnership complements Avalon's strategic business objectives, while also providing direct support to the federal government's Critical Minerals Strategy to increase the supply of responsibly sourced critical minerals and develop domestic supply chains for the green and digital economy, as announced by Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, as well as Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Francois-Phillippe Champagne.

The planned Thunder Bay processing facility and upstream lithium project in the Kenora region will create an estimated 500 jobs. It will also enable broader development of north-western Ontario's regional lithium assets by other producers seeking to use the proximity of Avalon's processing capacity. The facility will also help foster new economic development opportunities for local and regional First Nations communities.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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