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Sudbury lithium explorer proposes processing plant west of city

Frontier Lithium applies for provincial permit to establish hydroxide processor near Nairn Centre
Drilling at Frontier Lithium's PAK Project in northwestern Ontario (Company photo)

Sudbury-based Frontier Lithium is proposing to build a lithium hydroxide processing plant west of the city near Nairn Centre.

Documents were posted on Ontario’s Environmental Registry on May 4.

The company is expected to reveal more details during a presentation May 31 at the BEV In Depth: Mines to Mobility conference in Sudbury, taking place May 31 to June1.

If approved by regulators, it would be Ontario’s first lithium conversion facility to supply the electric vehicle market.

Frontier is asking the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks for a environmental compliance permit for air and noise. 

The deadline for this initial stage of public comments, which can be made online, is June 18.

The facility will be located in the Township of Nairn and Hyman about a half-hour drive from Sudbury and just south of Highway 17.

Frontier has two spodumene-bearing lithium deposits on its PAK project, 175 kilometres north of Red Lake in northwestern Ontario, possibly making them amenable to open-pit mining. Spodumene is the most widely preferred lithium for electronics and electric vehicle batteries because of its high lithium content. 

In 2021, Frontier released a preliminary economic assessment of PAK showing an estimated 26-year mine life. The company has long stated it holds an ambitious goal of become a vertically integrated supplier of battery-grade lithium hydroxide to the North American electric vehicle market with a mine, milling and downstream processing plant. 

The company’s Pakeagama Lake Pegmatite (PAK) project is a 26,774-hectare property strung out in a long corridor of claims that stretch for 65 kilometres, up near the border with Manitoba.