True Li: Canada approves Lithium mine in Quebec

Jan. 18, 2023
The project is expected to produce an average of 5,480 tons of ore per day over the mine’s lifespan of 15 to 20 years

The Canadian government has approved the construction of Galaxy Lithium’s proposed James Bay lithium mine project in Quebec.

The approval comes with 271 legally-binding conditions that Galaxy must comply with throughout the life of the project, which is located about 100 kilometers east of James Bay and the Eastmain Cree Community in Quebec.

The project is expected to produce an average of 5,480 tons of ore per day over the mine’s lifespan of 15 to 20 years. It will include waste rock, ore and overburden storage areas, tailings, an open-pit mine and concentrator facility, as well as related infrastructure.

This latest move comes as numerous companies are shoring up battery storage manufacturing supply chains in North America. The U.S. Department of Energy has provided a loan offer for Ioneer’s proposed Rhyolite Ridge lithium mine in Nevada, while battery storage components firms have announced moves to establish production plants in the U.S. and Canada as automakers ramp up electric vehicle plans and grid planners install utility-scale energy storage systems for a lower carbon energy future.

“Critical minerals are one of the keys to building Canada’s low-carbon economy and ensuring economic prosperity for years to come,” Steven Guilbeault, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, said. “We can only develop those resources by designing from the outset with strong mitigation measures to protect the environment and working in true partnership with Indigenous Peoples. Our future depends on sustainable projects like this one.”

The conditions include measures to protect migratory birds and birds at risk, fish and fish habitat, wetlands, bats at risk, woodland caribou, Cree health and the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by the Crees.

The project underwent an environmental assessment process led by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada and the Cree Nation Government, with participation and input from multiple government agencies and Cree experts. It is also undergoing a provincial environmental assessment by the Environmental and Social Impact Review Committee, on which the Cree Nation Government also sits.

The project would require 280 workers during construction and 167 workers during operation, and would benefit Cree workers and communities through direct employment and contracts with Cree companies.

The government of Canada recently announced its Critical Minerals Strategy, which includes lithium as one of six top critical minerals due to its importance in clean technology and rechargeable battery production for hybrid and electric vehicles.

Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, said, “The James Bay lithium mine project will produce a key ingredient of clean technology like electric vehicle batteries and solar panels. The government is committed to making Canada the global supplier of choice for sustainably and responsibly sourced critical minerals, from exploration and extraction, to manufacturing and recycling, while also fostering mutually beneficial relationships between industry and Indigenous Peoples.”

“Through the recently released Critical Minerals Strategy, we are supporting responsible and sustainable critical mineral development, to create good jobs, lower emissions, and build the low-carbon economy,” Wilkinson added.

Galaxy Lithium (Canada) is a subsidiary of Australian mining resource company Allkem.