Home / News / Rock Tech selects Red Rock as the location for Ontario’s First Lithium Refinery and secures CAD 5.5mn project investment from the BMI Group

Rock Tech selects Red Rock as the location for Ontario’s First Lithium Refinery and secures CAD 5.5mn project investment from the BMI Group

Toronto, ON, Canada

Rock Tech selects Red Rock as the location for Ontario’s First Lithium Refinery and secures CAD 5.5mn project investment from the BMI Group

• Following an extensive location selection process, Rock Tech has selected the former Norampac Paper Mill site in Red Rock as the location to develop Ontario’s first Lithium Refinery.

• Rock Tech and the BMI Group signed a binding Cooperation Agreement outlining a long-term lease for the Converter location and a CAD 5.5mn investment by the BMI Group into the Project.

• With Rock Tech’s unparalleled expertise gained through the successful development of Europe’s first Lithium Converter in Germany, Red Rock is positioned to become Canada’s premier lithium refining destination.

Rock Tech Lithium Inc. and the BMI Group are pleased to announce the signing of a Cooperation Agreement. The Agreement bindingly confirms the parties’ plans to enter into a long-term lease contract for the location of Ontario’s first Lithium Converter. The Red Rock site was selected by Rock Tech following the successful completion of a comprehensive site-assessment process. BMI further commits to invest CAD 5.5mn into the Project as part of the Agreement.

Rock Tech has decided to develop Ontario’s first Lithium Converter on the former Norampac Paper Mill site in Red Rock. The township of Red Rock is located approximately 110 km northeast of Thunder Bay, along the Trans-Canada Highway 17, on the north shore of Lake Superior. Rock Tech’s 100% owned Georgia Lake mining project is located approximately 60 km north of Red Rock.

In early 2023, Rock Tech engaged in an extensive site selection process. Several green and brown-field sites across Ontario and the Northern United States were evaluated. Rock Tech’s comprehensive expertise in developing Europe’s first Lithium Converter in Germany was instrumental in running an efficient and successful selection process in Canada. Since 2021, the Company has invested over 350,000 engineering hours and CAD 60mn into developing the Guben Lithium Converter in Germany.

Among others, the location in Red Rock was selected due to:

I. The availability of major supporting infrastructure including the proximity to BMI’s emerging multimodal logistics hub and an energy grid providing abundant clean electricity.

II. Strong support for the Project by the local community and Indigenous partners.

III. Its proximity to the Georgia Lake project.

With BMI developing multimodal road and rail logistics capabilities in the port of Red Rock, the location is strategically positioned to become the prime lithium refining destination in Northern Ontario. Equipped with the capability to process lithium from third-party mining projects, the Red Rock Converter will further unlock Northern Ontario’s nascent lithium mining sector.

“This is a fundamental milestone for our North American Lithium refinery plans,“ explains Kerstin Wedemann, Rock Tech’s Chief Legal & Operations Officer, “Lithium Converters are large value-added production facilities. Substantial infrastructure and several supporting factors are required to enable such projects. Our site selection process evaluated more than 150 different criteria and determined that Red Rock is the best location for this important Project.”

The binding Cooperation Agreement signed between Rock Tech and BMI is comprised of two aspects:

I. Rock Tech and BMI will enter into a long-term lease agreement for an area of approximately 50 acres (20 hectares) on the former Norampac Paper Mill site in Red Rock, allowing Rock Tech to develop, build and operate Ontario’s first Lithium Converter.

II. BMI will invest CAD 5.5 mn into Rock Tech’s Red Rock Lithium Converter on the asset-level of the Project. The investment by BMI will include an equity component, where BMI will acquire an equity stake in the Project, as well as a long-term loan.

The exact terms and conditions of the lease and investment agreements will be negotiated in the coming weeks and amongst others are subject to the outcome of usual due diligence.

“We believe in strong partnerships and the community benefits our projects can generate,” Rock Tech’s CEO Dirk Harbecke adds, “For over a decade now, we have been committed to developing relationships with our Indigenous partners in the area. With our decision to build our first Ontario Lithium Converter in Red Rock we are proud to honour their request to refine where we mine. The Red Rock community is eager to see a large industrial project return. BMI shares this vision of realizing sustainable economic development in Northern Ontario, demonstrated by their asset-level investment into the Red Rock Lithium Converter Project.”

“From developing the northernmost port on the Great Lakes in partnership with the Red Rock Indian Band to working with the town of Red Rock, Iron and Oak Railroad Services, and Hydro One, we’ve been working to make Red Rock industry-ready,” commented Paul Veldman, CEO of the BMI Group, “Today, that work has secured a pivotal partnership with Rock Tech and a new future for the Red Rock community. Together, we’re working to fortify Ontario’s Critical Mineral Corridor from the North to Niagara to establish a robust, made-in-Ontario lithium supply chain crucial for meeting the province’s burgeoning automotive and battery manufacturing potential. At PDAC 2024, we’ll be meeting with industry partners to discuss the Port of Red Rock, Rock Tech’s Lithium Converter capabilities, and the Critical Mineral Corridor strategic supply chain.”