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Snow Lake Lithium’s CEO has said the US faces a “once-in-a-century” pivot and the country’s energy system requires a radical rethink to serve the needs of automakers.

Philip Gross, Snow Lake’s CEO, has said that a “comprehensive” electric vehicle ecosystem needs to be created across North America to protect its domestic car producing industry.

“The US is the birthplace of the automobile and the second largest car producer in the world. With increasing demand for electric vehicles, we are facing a once-in-a-century industrial pivot and need to act fast to avoid losing our competitiveness in the global market,” says Gross. 

“To succeed in the future net zero economy, we need to create a vertically integrated domestic supply chain to achieve battery production at scale and future supply security.

“Government, OEMs, battery manufacturers, supply chain and academia need to come together to create an integrated and comprehensive electrified ecosystem including lithium mining and processing plants, as well as manufacturing capabilities and charging infrastructure.”

Gross explained that the US and Canada needed to create a “rock to road” supply chain for electric vehicles to ensure the longevity of the industry. 

Beech Ind Snow Lake

This supply chain model encompasses everything from adopting hydroelectric power to help mine lithium in a sustainable manner to manufacturing battery-grade lithium nearby and sending it by rail to automakers post-haste. 

Snow Lake, based in Manitoba, Canada, is able to access the US rail network via the Arctic Gateway railway which can reduce transportation of its battery-grade lithium from thousands of miles on trucks and ships to just several hundred miles by train.

The company also expects its 55,000-acre to produce 160,000 tonnes of 6% lithium spodumene, a mineral from which pure lithium for batteries can be extracted, over the next decade. 

At present, the company has explored just 1% of its site but is confident that further prospecting will increase estimates over the course of the year. The company will use almost 100% renewable hydroelectric power for its operations. Commercial mining operations will start in late 2024.

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