What is Lithium?
Lithium is a highly sought-after critical mineral that is essential to many aspects of modern life. From cell phones and laptops to electric vehicles, lithium plays a vital role in the green energy revolution taking place across North America. However, lithium mining poses unique challenges due to its location deep underground and in remote regions. At Stria, we are dedicated to overcoming these obstacles through extensive exploration, cutting-edge technologies, and strategic partnerships with industry leaders.
We believe that lithium can be successfully mined in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner through our efforts. By providing high-quality lithium reserves, Stria is helping to pave the way for a brighter future powered by green energy technologies.
The need for lithium
The lithium mining industry is booming as demand for lithium-ion batteries increases. However, almost 80% of the world’s lithium is mined in South America, Australia, and China, leaving North America reliant on imported lithium. This raises concerns about the security of the supply chain and the potential for price volatility.
Without domestic sources of this critical mineral, battery companies have to import lithium from overseas, incurring freight costs and emitting greenhouse gases. Foreign suppliers want to keep their resource for their own manufacturers, so North American manufacturers need their own local, North American-sourced supply.
Investing in lithium mining in North America would help to secure the supply chain and ensure stable prices. It would also create jobs and boost the economy. Lithium is a critical mineral for the transition to a low-carbon economy, and North America needs to be at the forefront of this green energy transformation.
In 2022, US President Biden signed a Presidential Directive for a secure, North American supply of lithium. The goal of the Directive is to move the US toward renewable energy and decrease dependence on fossil fuels, which leave consumers subject to wild swings in oil prices caused by geopolitical conflict. The Biden Administration is looking into the future towards 2030 and the need for secure sources of critical minerals in close proximity to its factories.
The Ukraine/Russia crisis has shone a brighter spotlight on critical minerals that are North American-sourced. To mitigate geopolitical risks to the critical minerals supply chain, the need for North American sources is more urgent than ever before.
Types of lithium extraction
Lithium is a key mineral used in everything from batteries to electronics, making lithium extraction an important process for modern society. There are several different methods of lithium extraction:
The most common lithium mining method is called brine mining. This involves extracting lithium-rich water from underground aquifers, then processing it to extract the lithium ions. This type of lithium extraction tends to be a popular choice in South America due to the high lithium levels and consistent hot weather in countries like Chile.
Another method of lithium extraction involves digging deep into the earth to access hard rock deposits. This process usually requires blasting or crushing rocks containing lithium minerals. The lithium minerals are then extracted from the rock and processed to extract the lithium ions. As most lithium deposits found in the Canadian Shield are of this hard-rock type, hard-rock lithium mining is the method that will be used at Stria’s Pontax site and others like it in Quebec.
The Heap Leaching process involves sprinkling a lithium-rich solution over a large pile of ore. The lithium ions then travel through the ore, and are eventually collected at the bottom of the pile. Heap leaching is typically less energy-intensive than other methods but can take longer to produce results.
The solar evaporation method uses the sun’s power to evaporate lithium-rich brine solutions. This method is very energy efficient, but it can take months or even years to produce results.