What is Le lithium d’ici, exactly?

What is Le lithium d’ici, exactly?

Extracting and processing lithium directly in Abitibi-Témiscamingue has three long-term strategic advantages that will benefit not only the region, but the province of Quebec as a whole. We are part of a great movement to develop the electrification of transportation, which will help to progressively reduce our environmental footprint; encourage local, regional, and provincial economic growth; and create hundreds of jobs in Quebec in the near future.

Le lithium d’iciTM

Reducing our environmental footprint!

At the moment, lithium is mined mainly in China, Argentina, and Chile. However, Quebec is lucky enough to have geology that supports lithium minerals. And by taking advantage of our own resources, we can reduce our environmental footprint. One of the largest consumers of lithium in the world is actually our neighbour to the south, because of the many companies on American soil (like Tesla and IBM) that depend on the resource. Quebec has the potential to become a supplier of choice nearby. Abitibi-Témiscamingue is only around 500 kilometres from the American border, compared to over 12,000 kilometres for China. That means carbon emissions will be necessarily be lower, especially since transportation from other competing countries is done both by truck and by plane.

In addition to the kilometres saved in transportation when lithium is extracted and processed here rather than in other countries, Quebec stands out for the strict standards that apply to mining companies operating on its territory. The province has some of the most precautionary standards in the world, thanks in part to the Quebec government’s strategic vision for mining development (in French only, https://mern.gouv.qc.ca/mines/strategies/vision-strategique/) and its plan for the development of critical and strategic minerals (https://www.quebec.ca/en/government/policies-orientations/quebec-plan-development-critical-strategic-minerals). Even at a quick glance, these documents show the importance Quebec places on environmental considerations and sustainable development.

Contributing to a thriving local economy!

The development of the lithium industry in Quebec has generated a constant increase in economic productivity over the last few years. Each year, Mining by the Numbers provides an update on mining investment and mineral production in Quebec using data collected by the Institut de la statistique du Québec. According to the most recent report, as of 2019, the value of mineral shipments in Quebec has increased by 11.1% over the previous year, which shows the industry’s vitality. As shown in the graph below, the three main mining regions (Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Nord-du-Québec, and Côte-Nord) are responsible for 75.2% of the total value of the province’s mineral shipments.

Répartition de la valeur des livraisons minérales selon les régions administratives, Québec, 2019
Source : Institut de la statistique du Québec, Recensement annuel sur la production minérale.

This strong and growing economic activity has resulted in significant investments in the communities that host mining projects, since mining companies have significant purchasing power. For example, did you know that, whenever possible, Sayona favours purchasing from local and regional businesses so it can contribute to Abitibi-Témiscamingue’s economic development? We believe that this helps solidify the regional market and developing a sustainable collective wealth. Local purchasing generates economic growth and improves quality of life for everyone in our host communities. The relationship between the increase of local business revenues and the increase of citizens’ buying power has been proven time and time again!

Creating more local jobs!

Over the next year alone, the North American Lithium Complex will have 150 jobs to fill! In a region of less than 150,000 people, an additional 150 jobs makes a real difference. In 2019, there were 18,918 mining jobs in the province, an increase of 5.6% over the previous year, and the trend shows no signs of slowing in the coming years (Institut de la statistique du Québec, 2019). And for good reason! With operations at the North American Lithium Complex in La Corne officially beginning in 2023, the potential for future hiring in the region remains substantial. These recruitment opportunities will allow future workers to benefit from quality jobs, both in management and in operations and machinery. This is a good sign for all sectors of activity! While some people are drawn to come and work at Sayona because our sites are close to nature and tranquility, the majority of our employees come from the regions where our projects are located, and we’re proud of that. Le lithium d’ici definitely means more local jobs!

In closing, Le lithium d’iciTM means a smaller environmental footprint, a thriving local economy, and more local jobs. Thanks to Sayona’s contribution, this strategic metal is giving Quebec the opportunity to become a leader in the production of lithium concentrate and a major player in the manufacture of high-grade carbonate/hydroxide to fully serve the North American market. Lithium has a lot to make us proud!

Sources :

Government of Quebec, 2020. Québec Plan for the Development of Critical and Strategic Minerals 2020–2025.
Institut de la statistique du Québec, 2019. Québec mining sector: value of shipments and wage bill increased in 2019.
Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles du Québec, 2016. Vision stratégique du développement minier au Québec.

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