Rock Tech Picks Red Rock For Ontario’s First Lithium Refinery

Following an extensive location selection process, Rock Tech has selected the former Norampac Paper Mill site in Red Rock as the location for Ontario's first lithium refinery.

Following a comprehensive site selection process, Rock Tech Lithium Inc. will build Ontario’s first Lithium Converter at the former Norampac Paper Mill site in Red Rock. The project is part of a long-term lease contract between Rock Tech and the BMI Group. As part of the agreement, BMI has committed to invest $40.1 million (CAD $5.5 million) into the project.

The township of Red Rock is located approximately 68 miles 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 37 miles north of Red Rock.

Early last year, Rock Tech engaged in an extensive site selection process during which several green and brownfield sites across Ontario and the Northern U.S. were evaluated. Rock Tech developed Europe’s first Lithium Converter in Germany, which was instrumental in its successful site selection process in Canada.

Rock Tech Lithium Refinery, Red Rock, Ontario, Canada
A 3D-Model of Rock Tech’s planned Lithium Refinery in Red Rock, Ontario. (Source: CNW Group/Rock Tech Lithium Inc.)


Rock Tech chose the Red Rock location due to:

  • Availability of major supporting infrastructure, including the proximity to BMI’s emerging multimodal logistics hub and an energy grid providing abundant clean electricity.
  • Strong support for the project by the local community and Indigenous partners.
  • 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,” explained 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.”

“We believe in strong partnerships and the community benefits our projects can generate,” commented Rock Tech’s CEO Dirk Harbecke. “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 honor 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.”

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

“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.”

Check out all the latest news related to economic development, corporate relocation, corporate expansion and site selection in Ontario, Canada.


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