While the North American Lithium, one of the largest lithium mines in America, is bankrupt, Quebec players are rising to prevent it from passing into the hands of foreign interests.
Several groups of Chinese, Australian and American foreign investors wish to buy the mine located in La Corne, in Abitibi, near the town of Amos.
Among the interested local players, there is Benoit La Salle, the chairman and CEO of SRG Mining, who fears that it will be bought by foreigners.
“Globally, there is a race for strategic minerals. (…) even the federal government has recognized that there is strategic value in certain minerals. Lithium is at the top of the list, ”he says.
For Mr. La Salle, it is essential that the mine remains a national interest. Especially since Nemaska Lithium, another large Quebec mine, has been sold to foreign interests.
“In a few years, it will be very important to control the supply chain. (…) So Lion will not have a battery if he does not control the ore at the start because the Chinese are going to need it, the Europeans are going to need it, ”says Benoit La Salle.
The latter even cites as an example the boss of Tesla, Elon Musk, who will have to reduce his production rate if he cannot obtain the raw material.
With partners from Quebec, Benoit La Salla established a plan to bring North American Lithium to life.
“We want to do mining, we want to do the first transformation and the second transformation into a finished product that we will then be able to sell to battery companies,” he explains.