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Mining the Northwest: Charged up lithium explorers move toward mine production

Green Tech Metals buys out partner, Rock Tech Lithium firms up European supply chain
(l-r) Rock Tech's Markus Bruegmann and Dirk Harbecke are creating a joint venture supply chain partnership with Jean-Pierre Adamian of Transamine Holdings (Rock Tech photo)

A pair of lithium junior miners in northwestern Ontario are making moves to consolidate ground and firm up its supply chain to feed the downstream electric vehicle manufacturers.

Australia’s Green Technology Metals is dissolving a joint venture partnership with Ardiden to acquire the remaining 20 per cent stake in its Ontario lithium properties.

The deal worth (Australian) $18.5 million gives Green Tech full control of three lithium holdings including Seymour, located just outside of Armstrong, that the company is touting as a mine development.

Ardiden, a fellow Australian junior miner, is focusing its efforts on gold in the Pickle Lake area.

Meanwhile, Green Tech aims to establish a “vertically integrated business” involving Thunder Bay in serving the North American automotive industry.

In a statement, Green Tech CEO Luke Cox was pleased to consolidate these properties in this transaction.

“To have secured 100 per cent ownership of our key assets, including our flagship Seymour Mine Development, further cements our strategic industry positioning. It also removes the implicit economic burden of a free-carried minority interest over these assets.”

Last month, Green Tech struck a deal with Lithium Americas to establish a supply chain for North American automakers.

Cox said it’s “full steam ahead” with aggressive drill programs underway at Seymour and the Root Project, north of Sioux Lookout.

At Seymour, the company is also undertaking metallurgical test work and environmental and permitting base line work to fold into an upcoming preliminary economic assessment (PEA).

Cox added they are open for business in looking to acquire other lithium properties in Ontario.

“Key outcomes from these activities are set to flow over coming months, including ongoing drilling and assay results, a further resource update at Seymour, a maiden resource estimate at Root, and scheduled completion of the Seymour PEA, including downstream facility development, in (the first half of) 2023.

“All of this is set to occur against an ongoing backdrop of aggressive governmental and end user incentivisation of new North American domiciled lithium supply sources, including via the recent game-changing Inflation Reduction Act 2022 legislation in the U.S.”

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Just to the south of Seymour, Rock Tech Lithium is making plans to develop a mine of its own located between Nipigon and Beardmore, and wants to put its Georgia Lake Project into production by 2024.

But the company’s big news this week comes on the supply chain side over in Europe where it’s forming a joint venture with Swiss commodities trader Transamine Holdings.

Under the banner of RTT Lithium SA, this new joint venture arrangement will establish a supply chain to send lithium-bearing spodumene to the Rock Tech’s planned series of European-based converter plants to make lithium hydroxide for European electric vehicle market.

This joint venture will provide a conduit for other spodumene miners out there to get their material to the automotive market.

Rock Tech recently signed a definitive agreement to establishment the joint venture at Transamine’s headquarters in Geneva. The partnership takes effect by year’s end.

“RTT is expected to provide Rock Tech with the capacity to secure a deep pipeline of potential raw material sources and is an important step in advancing the company's diversified sourcing strategy," said Markus Bruegmann, Rock Tech’s CEO in a news release.

In a statement, Transamine Director Jean-Pierre Adamian weighed in:"We intend to create a new and reliable solution for spodumene concentrate producers to, via Rock Tech, supply the European lithium market as part of a supply chain that is transparent, traceable and ESG compliant, from mines to the off-take market. This will also help us to grow in a strategic market of critical raw materials."

Rock Tech, which bills itself as a cleantech company, recently broke ground on its first of five planned lithium converters in the eastern part of Germany. It’s located to be on the doorstep of the automakers and provide just-in-time delivery.

The company made news back in August by signing a lithium supply deal with Mercedes Benz.