Consistent with its strategy to become a leading North American vertically integrated lithium producer, Avalon Advanced Materials (TSX: AVL; OTCQB: AVLNF) has signed a memorandum of understanding to create a strategic partnership with Metso, a global leader in clean, sustainable critical mineral processing technology.
The agreement, signed at Canada House in London U.K., will immediately see the parties seek to establish terms to develop a lithium hydroxide production facility to process lithium mineral concentrates that are essential for the North American electric vehicle (EV) battery value chain.
Metso's will construct and operate a full-service lithium processing facility at Avalon’s recently acquired Thunder Bay, Ont. industrial site. Upon completion of the project, Avalon will be the first vertically integrated lithium producer in Ontario, while ensuring Canada's EV battery manufacturing base has a stable, proximate and long-term supply of this strategically vital resource.
"Metso's platform and technological solutions perfectly complement Avalon's vision to complete an integrated lithium value chain in Ontario, predicated on innovative process solutions," said Zeeshan Syed, president of Avalon. "We view Metso as an integral part of this rapidly growing sector, and a foundational partner in developing internationally best-in-class processing capabilities that are environmentally sustainable, allowing Avalon to meet the soaring demand for battery-grade lithium."
The two companies anticipate reaching a definitive agreement on or before Sept. 1, 2023. As part of the agreement, Metso will conduct testing and engineering work across Avalon's portfolio of critical mineral projects, including the company's flagship deposit at Separation Rapids near Kenora, Ont.
Avalon's strategic partnership with Metso is a first in Canada and is a significant step towards helping Avalon execute on its vertically integrated business strategy, and in turn, entrench Ontario's position as an advanced manufacturing hub serving not only North America, but the world.
"We are also extremely excited to be partnering with the first Ontario conversion facility with Metso's technology,” said Mikko Rantaharju, Metso’s head of hydrometallurgy. “The innovation advantages of the alkaline process allow for elimination of the use of potentially harmful chemicals such as sulphuric acid and comparatively reduces overall solid waste and emissions, making it environmentally friendlier and overall, safer for workers and local surrounding communities."
Learn more about Metso’s commitment to clean production of battery minerals on its website.