Although it is far away from any proposed development, a mining company near Snow Lake thinks they might have a major find on their hands.
Snow Lake Resources, a spin-off group of companies Nova Minerals and Progressive Planet Solutions, has announced their latest results from the 5,600 hectares the company owns near Wekusko Lake. The company has been seeking lithium on land including the Thompson Brothers property, the Sherritt Gordon property and another property the company has named Grass River.
Snow Lake Resources CEO Derek Knight said the Thompson Brothers and Sherritt Gordon properties have both shown high indications of lithium-containing minerals.
“They are pretty good samples,” he said.
Estimates of the area show an implied resource of 6.3 million tons. At the Thompson Brothers deposit, one area of the resource has tested at 1.3 per cent dilithium oxide.
At the Sherritt Gordon area, named for the company that formerly owned and processed the site, Knight said historical data for the site has often mentioned spodumene, a mineral that contains lithium as well as aluminum and silicon.
“In 1942, Sherritt Gordon put 20 holes into it. It’s also on our property. That’s not included in any of the estimates so far, but they had 20 holes that all had spodumene,” said Knight.
“We think there’s a very good chance for us to put a couple holes over there and increase that inferred resource.”
Both the Thompson Brothers and Sherritt Gordon areas have been prospected in the past, with historical mining data for the areas available dating back all the way to 1942. However, none of the companies examining the area thought highly of lithium. In the 20th century, lithium had little value, used mostly in glass and ceramic production, industrial greases and metal work.
Since then, lithium has grown more valuable through two uses. It is a key element in the batteries of phones, laptops, electric cars and other technology, and is used as medication for people with some forms of mental illness.
“I think for a long time, there just wasn’t a market for it. Whenever people looked for lithium, they were looking for the cheapest way to get it,” said Knight.
Knight sees lithium items as a key part for clean energy in the future, less damaging to the environment than other forms of mining and as a preferable method to find energy than other means, including fossil fuel extraction.
“I think what’s important to know is that renewable clean energy is not going away,” he said.
“The idea that we’re going to have less energy storage in northern climates, electric cars, and all that – those are certainly going to be increasing. The question is going to be if the supply matches up with the demand.”
Knight said some areas of land owned by the company have not yet been fully tested, but he is hoping for big things.
“There’s lots of other possibilities. There are lots of known pegmatite dikes that we just haven’t gotten to yet because we got the ones that are most likely and most favourable targets. There are lots more dikes that haven’t even been looked at yet,” he said.
The ultimate goal for the project is to have a fully functioning lithium mine somewhere near Snow Lake. Snow Lake Resources has a public offering in the works and Knight hopes the recent buzz will help the company further their findings.
“We’re planning on moving this project along, hopefully to the stage where we can create some jobs in the area,” said Knight.
Eric Westhaver / Flin Flon Reminder