Manitoba Mining Sector to See Boost from Global Lithium Demandhttps://snowlakeresources.com/wp-content/themes/fildisi/images/empty/thumbnail.jpg150150Snow Lake ResourcesSnow Lake Resourceshttps://snowlakeresources.com/wp-content/themes/fildisi/images/empty/thumbnail.jpg
One of the regions that is seeing an uptick in lithium exploration activity is Manitoba’s Snow Lake region.
While other materials have seen unstable markets in the last year, demand for lithium has continued to rise in order to meet the demands of the lithium-ion battery market.
According to a recent CBC article, one of the jurisdictions that is seeing an uptick in lithium exploration activity is Manitoba’s Snow Lake region. Snow Lake sits 200 kilometers east of Flin Flon, another area in the province that is well known for lithium production. Companies like Snow Lake Resources and Far Resources (CSE:FAT) are leading the charge in exploring the Snow Lake region, showing a glimmer of hope and promise as the province faces ongoing employment challenges in its mining sector. This follows decisions from both Hudbay Minerals (TSX:HBM,NYSE:HBM) and Vale (NYSE:VALE) to reduce their activities in Manitoba.
In their pursuit to develop a lithium hub in northern Manitoba, the miner will be developing the Stall mill, Lalor mine and a refurbished New Brit Gold mill, all near Snow Lake. “As long as there is exploration, there’s always hope for a longer future,” said Snow Lake mayor Peter Roberts.
Millions of Tonnes of Lithium Found at Snow Lakehttps://snowlakeresources.com/wp-content/themes/fildisi/images/empty/thumbnail.jpg150150Snow Lake ResourcesSnow Lake Resourceshttps://snowlakeresources.com/wp-content/themes/fildisi/images/empty/thumbnail.jpg
Demand for Lithium Expected to Put a Charge in Manitoba’s Beleaguered Mining Sectorhttps://snowlakeresources.com/wp-content/themes/fildisi/images/empty/thumbnail.jpg150150Snow Lake ResourcesSnow Lake Resourceshttps://snowlakeresources.com/wp-content/themes/fildisi/images/empty/thumbnail.jpg
Discovery of mineral used in batteries has drills turning around Snow Lake
Ian Froese · CBC News · Posted: Jan 12, 2019 6:00 AM CT | Last Updated: January 12
It may not offset the hundreds of mining jobs that northern Manitoba is losing, but exploration companies are bullish on the potential for lithium.
One of the hubs of activity for a mineral vital in the world’s drive to electrification is around Snow Lake, 200 kilometres east of Flin Flon.
“If we get three or four mines going up there again, we could probably get 500 directly employed people,” said geologist Dale Schultz, who is collaborating with a new mining company called Snow Lake Resources.
It’s a lofty goal, but then lithium, used in batteries, is a hot commodity in the expected electrification of our society, including vehicles. And jurisdictions are taking notice: only months ago the B.C. government promised it would take steps to ensure all new cars and trucks sold in the province are emission-free by 2040.
That means the resource will become more valuable as time goes on, Schultz says.
“That’s the common wisdom right now.”
Betting on lithium
In and around Snow Lake, drills are turning for lithium.
Snow Lake Resources has dibs on a 6.3-million-tonne resource estimate, while Far Resources is digging into an initial resource of 1.1 million tonnes.
The exploration comes amid a downturn in the province’s mining industry.
The sector faced a body blow last year when Hudbay announced its intentions to pull up stakes in Flin Flon by 2021 due to a lack of ore in the ground. In another setback, Vale laid off 169 employees last year at its Thompson mine.
To save even some of those Hudbay positions, Snow Lake is being held up as a saving grace. The miner expects to transfer employees to the Stall mill, Lalor mine and a refurbished New Brit Gold mill, all near Snow Lake.
It will lessen the blow, but it won’t save all 800 Hudbay jobs at risk in Flin Flon.
That’s where further exploration may come into play.
In addition to the play for lithium, Rockcliff Metals, a Toronto-based miner, is after a gold deposit in the region.
Toby Mayo, president and CEO of Far Resources, says there’s no denying the demand for lithium can lift the fortunes of Snow Lake.
“There’s no reason why a huge number of additional discoveries can’t be made that will really put Snow Lake on the map — again.”
Hope during a downturn
Snow Lake has a storied mining history, but is subject to the whims of the industry’s cyclical nature.
Mayor Peter Roberts acknowledges his northern community may be approaching a time when a stream of Flin Flon residents come to their community to work, instead of a flow of citizens travelling in the opposite direction.
“As long as there is exploration, there’s always hope for a longer future,” he said.
In Manitoba, senior mining companies intended to spend $41.3 million toward exploration in 2018, while junior miners invested $6.3 million toward the same task, according to Natural Resources Canada figures.
Ken Klyne, president of the Manitoba Prospectors and Developers Association, said provincial exploration can rise again by simplifying the permitting process and reducing the need for onerous consultations.
“It’s a huge problem created and we’re not going to turn it around overnight.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ian Froese is a reporter at CBC Manitoba. He previously wrote about rural Manitoba for the Brandon Sun and the Carillon in Steinbach. Story idea? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.