Snow Lake Resources has added technical impetus to its bid to build a “fully electric lithium mine” in Manitoba, Canada, with an agreement to work with one of the world’s major mining equipment manufacturers on the design of its proposed hard-rock project.
Despite its share price slumping by nearly 60% this year to a level about one-third what it was when it raised US$27.6 million at US$7.50 via a Nasdaq IPO last November (capitalising the company at sub-US$50m), Snow Lake is pressing ahead with a significant drilling program and plans to start feasibility work this year.
The newly signed memorandum of understanding with Epiroc engages the latter in equipment and infrastructure studies in conjunction with its subsidiary, Meglab. Epiroc, a circa-US$19 billion market-cap, Stockholm-listed company, acquired the Quebec-based mine electrification infrastructure advisory firm last year.
Snow Lake has an indicated spodumene-based lithium resource of 9.08 million tonnes grading 1% Li20, with an inferred 1.97Mt at 0.98% LiO2, at its eponymous project.
“Initial testing suggests that a fully functioning lithium mine could produce 160,000 tonnes per annum of 6% lithium ore concentrate over an eight-to-10-year period,” the company has said, but obviously has drilling and studies to complete. Still, it has ambitious schedule to start site development in 2024 and start commercial mining by 2025.
It wants to use hydroelectric power and battery-electric equipment to produce “clean” lithium.
“Epiroc has a long history of offering innovative and safe equipment, as well as automation, digitalisation, and electrification solutions to the industry,” Snow Lake said.
“Epiroc has exhibited a remarkable aptitude in project coordination and vertical integration, as seen by its recent achievement in the Borden mine project in Chapleau, Canada, which is the first all-electric gold mine in the world.”
Snow Lake is currently drilling on a large, modelled cluster of pegmatites “that could provide an ideal starter pit using an open pit mining method”, the company says.
“It is the company’s vision to build this resource to a 25-year mine life initially utilising an open pit and progressing to an underground mining scenario.”