The $363,000 investment, to help Frontier launch a pilot demonstration of its proprietary lithium extraction process, precedes the planned fall release of the province’s Critical Minerals Strategy
The Ontario government announced Wednesday it would invest $363,000 in Frontier Lithium Inc. in order to help the Sudbury-based mining company demonstrate its newly developed proprietary lithium extraction process, which is designed to overcome certain financial, technical, and environmental risks associated with conventional lithium processing.
The investment is also designed to highlight Ontario’s significant potential for mineral development and promote economic growth in Northern Ontario. Should a successful demonstration lead to the foundation of a commercial-scale lithium chemical plant, that project could potentially create 500 jobs during a two-year construction phase and more than 250 once a plant is operational.
“This strategic investment strengthens Frontier Lithium’s ability to assess new and emerging technologies so that we can best deliver high-quality lithium battery materials while reducing waste and energy,” said Trevor Walker, Frontier Lithium president and CEO.
“The timely support of the Ontario government further reinforces our vision and value-proposition to build an integrated local mining and battery materials supplier for the electric vehicle industry from one of North America’s largest and highest-grade lithium resources.”
Critical minerals at a turning point
Ontario’s investment comes at a time when many are calling on Canadian policy and industrial leaders to act to develop the country’s critical mineral and lithium-ion battery supply chains.
Lithium plays a critical role in the manufacturing of the batteries used in electric vehicles as well as a variety of other products. Along with lithium, Canada holds ample deposits of minerals such as graphite, nickel and cobalt, for which international demand is expected to skyrocket in coming years due to the proliferation of electric vehicles.
This March, Ontario announced the planned development of its first-ever Critical Minerals Strategy to generate investment and help create jobs in the province’s mining sector. In advance of that plan’s fall release, the province has opened a discussion paper for public input until June 11.
“We are investing in innovative mining and refining technology developed right here in northern Ontario,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines on Wednesday.
“Our government’s investment in Frontier Lithium strengthens the development of our Critical Minerals Strategy and our position to become the supplier, producer and manufacturer of choice for certain critical minerals. There’s a growing global market for reliable, responsibly sourced critical minerals, and we want Ontario to be the first jurisdiction on everybody’s mind.”
Ontario is funding the project through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp. (NOHFC), which is designed to support the development and commercialization of new technologies that are likely to stimulate growth and job creation in Northern Ontario. The NOHFC has invested more than $309 million since 2018 in projects that have together created or sustained over 4,770 jobs.