Canada Lithium Corp. announced today that the Company has been selected to receive a grant of up to $6.5 million from the Government of Canada through Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).
The grant was awarded to Canada Lithium to construct a pilot plant to test the viability of refining lithium metal from the Company's lithium products, soon to be produced from the new mine and process plant currently being commissioned near Val d'Or, Québec.
"Our Government is doing its part to encourage innovation and the next wave of clean technologies to help protect our environment and create high-quality jobs," said the Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources. "Investment in projects such as these demonstrates our leadership in driving a vibrant clean technology industry in Canada."
"It is an honor to be chosen for the SDTC program, which funds projects aimed at creating jobs in Canada's dynamic cleantech sector," said Canada Lithium President and CEO Peter Secker . "It also fits well with our strategic goal to broaden our product offering, the core of which will be lithium carbonate, but with higher-value downstream products such as lithium hydroxide and lithium metal."
"As a component of electric-vehicle batteries, lithium is in high demand worldwide and an important tool for the cleantech sector," said Dr. Vicky Sharpe , President and CEO of SDTC. "The technology being developed in this project has the potential to reduce total EV battery costs, thereby increasing the rate of EV up-take. This represents an exciting development for Canada's cleantech sector and an opportunity to reach markets overseas."
Lithium metal is used as the cathode material for primary lithium batteries, lithium metal polymer batteries and in the newly developed lithium-air battery designs. In addition, it is increasingly used in aluminum alloys in aerospace applications and for the production of butyl lithium products. The current market price for 99.9% lithium metal is quoted at over $60,000 per tonne by Metal Prices.
The company is proposing to commence construction of a 200-tonne-per-annum pilot plant on the Québec Lithium site towards the end of Q3, 2013. The objective of the pilot plant is to produce battery-grade, 99.95% lithium metal for metallurgical acceptance testing in Québec and Asia. The production of lithium metal consumes significant quantities of electrical power; therefore, the location of a new plant in Québec relies upon utilising competitively priced electrical power from Hydro-Québec. If the pilot plant proves a success, Canada Lithium could potentially commence construction of a 2,000-tonnne-per-annum lithium metal plant, perhaps as early as Q4, 2014.
Canada Lithium is nearing the end of the commissioning phase of its $207-million open-pit mine and process plant. First shipment of lithium carbonate is anticipated at the end of March, 2013. The company has also completed designs for a lithium hydroxide circuit and sodium sulphate circuit at the plant.