OTTAWA – Stria Lithium Inc. (TSXV:SRA) is pleased to announce it has been awarded a total of $114,400 in grants from the Government of Québec, Plan Nord, and from Innovation et Développement Manicouagan (CLD) Baie Comeau, to conduct a prefeasibility analysis for the production of lithium metal and lithium foil in Baie Comeau, Québec.
The grants were announced at a news conference held by the Hon. Pierre Arcand, Minister of Natural Resources and Minister Responsible for Plan Nord, and by Claude Martel, Mayor of Baie Comeau and Vice President of CLD.
Stria Lithium, the sole owner of the Pontax Lithium Project in the James Bay region of Northern Québec that is currently at the exploration stage. Stria also holds the proprietary technology, in-house process engineering and manufacturing expertise to produce high-value, in-demand lithium metal and lithium foil for an underserved North American market.
Working in the Province of Québec affords Stria access to low-cost supplies of electricity required for lithium metal processing and fabrication of end products used for the most part in the manufacture of primary lithium batteries, aluminum alloys for the aircraft industry and starter material for pharmaceutical and specialty chemical industries.
Baie Comeau is some 420 km northeast of Québec City on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. Its deep water port provides easy access to both North American and European lithium metal markets.
The Government of Québec has provided a grant of $74,400 to finance the pre-feasibility study divided equally between the Ministry of Economics, Science and Innovation and the Société du Plan Nord while Innovation et Développement Manicouagan (CLD) Baie Comeau is contributing $40,000.
Stria has committed $50,000 in in-kind contributions to the project.
The purpose of the prefeasibility study is to determine the viability of Stria’s planned production facility before moving to a full feasibility analysis prior to construction. Stria anticipates completion of the initial analysis within 3 months.
Key deliverables of the study are to verify the principal assumptions for Stria’s comprehensive business plan. These include verification of prevailing and future markets, confirmation of the technology and operating risks. Consolidation of site requirements including required permits, environmental considerations, staffing and capital and operating costs.
Minister Arcand said the prefeasibility study was a first step that might lead to a total investment of $20 million in Baie Comeau and lead to the creation of some 30 direct jobs.
He said the Stria technology and manufacturing project dovetailed with Plan Nord’s development objectives in terms of business diversification in the Northern Québec region.
“The pre-feasibility study that will lead Stria Lithium into this region meets one of the (government’s) objectives for Plan Nord 2035,” said Minister Arcand. “And that is to support promising projects with a view to the diversification through enhanced mineral processing, in particular, minerals such as diamond, apatite, ilmenite, lithium, graphite and rare earths. ”
Stria Lithium Chief Executive Officer Gary Economo said his company sees a strategic value in commissioning its lithium production facility in Québec.
“As the world moves to a low carbon economy, securing a competitive business advantage is critical to a manufacturer’s success in both today’s and tomorrow’s clean technology markets,” said Mr. Economo.
“We see our commercial advantages through a lens that incorporates environmental sustainability with unique technologies from the production floor to the end-user – a prerequisite for acceptance everywhere in the world today,” he added.
Stria President and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Iain Todd praised the commitments by Québec authorities for sharing Stria’s technology vision.
“Stria is truly unique in the lithium sector,” said Dr. Todd. “While we continue exploration of our James Bay project, we anticipate being in a revenue-positive position within the next 24 months.
“From an operating perspective, one of the key cost components to production of lithium metal is the price of energy. The availability of low cost electricity in the Baie Comeau region, offers Stria a significant market advantage in the manufacturing of lithium metal by electrolysis,” said Dr. Todd.
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