Historic Tanco mine in Manitoba producing lithium again – but this time under China’s Sinomine 

More than a decade after shutting down lithium production, the Tanco mine in Manitoba started producing lithium spodumene concentrate in December, making […]
The Tanco mine. Photo credit: Joey Champagne, facility general manager, Tanco.

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More than a decade after shutting down lithium production, the Tanco mine in Manitoba started producing lithium spodumene concentrate in December, making it a rare manufacturer of the raw material in Canada, amidst a rise in demand for battery metals.  

Owned by Sinomine Resources, a company listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in China, the mine shipped about 2,000 tonnes of spodumene concentrates to its sister company Jiangxi Donpeng New Materials last year to feed its battery grade lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate production lines, according to a Sinomine press release.  

While the company currently supplies all of its lithium raw materials to its sister company in China, it aims to supply spodumene to the North American market in the future and is working to expand its resource and develop a lithium hydroxide and carbonate plant locally, the company’s North American operations director Joey Champagne told The Northern Miner in an interview.  

“The previous lithium operation on site was shut down in 2009 (due to market demand) and it was primarily focused on the ceramics industry and very high-quality products,” said Champagne. “With the recent shift in market and the need for battery grade concentrates, we decided to restart our lithium operations and refurbished the existing plants to a state that’s within our operational limitations.”  

The Tantalum Mining Corp. of Canada Limited, known as the Tanco mine, is located about 160 km northeast of Winnipeg and has been in production for over 50 years. Over the years, the mine has produced tantalum, pollucite, lithium and cesium.  

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