Avalon Advanced Materials Inc has signed a memorandum of understanding to create a strategic partnership with Metso aimed at establishing 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 company’s recently acquired Thunder Bay, Ontario industrial site.
Upon completion of the project, Avalon says it 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 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,” Zeeshan Syed, President of Avalon, said. “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.”
The non-binding MoU stipulates:
• The pursuit of a definitive agreement to establish a lithium hydroxide processing facility in Thunder Bay;
• Avalon to license Metso technology and solutions to produce lithium hydroxide cathode materials to serve the EV market;
• Allow Metso to conduct testing and engineering work across Avalon’s portfolio of critical-mineral projects, including the company’s flagship deposit at Separation Rapids near Kenora, Ontario; and
• The parties anticipate reaching a definitive agreement on or before September 1, 2023.
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 says.
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.
Mikko Rantaharju, Head of Hydrometallurgy at Metso, said: “Metso is looking forward to partnering with Avalon and be 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.
”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 reduces overall solid waste and emissions, making it environmentally friendlier and overall, safer for workers and local surrounding communities.”
Avalon is a Canadian mineral development company focused on vertically integrating the Ontario lithium value chain. The company is currently developing its Separation Rapids lithium deposit near Kenora, while continuing to advance other projects in its portfolio, including its 100%-owned Lilypad spodumene-cesium-tantalum project near Fort Hope, Ontario.
In additional to extraction activities, Avalon is executing on its key strategic objective of developing Ontario’s first midstream lithium hydroxide processing facility, a vital link bridging the gap between upstream lithium production and downstream EV battery manufacturing.
For battery minerals, Metso provides sustainable technology and equipment for the entire production chain, from the mine to battery materials and black mass recycling with project scopes ranging from equipment packages to plant deliveries.