Two First Nation Businesses Launch North-South “Mines to Battery” Supply Chain Partnership
Greenstone, Ontario and Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, Ontario–(June 6, 2023) – The Three Fires Group (Three Fires) and Minodahmun Development LP (Minodahmun) today announced a new “Mines to Battery” partnership to advance First Nation economic opportunities in Ontario’s integrated battery electric vehicle (BEV) supply chain
“The north-south First Nation business alliance will focus on creating linkages between raw battery metals in Northern Ontario and BEV manufacturers in Southern Ontario. The foundation of the partnership is based on working with federal and provincial partners, and industry, to create a North to South Battery Corridor connecting the mineral extraction/processing sites with the EV vehicle production facilities,” said Reggie George, Executive Director Special Projects and Partnerships of Three Fires Group. “This 100% First Nation partnership creates an alliance between two established Indigenous economic development corporations whose owner communities span multiple Treaty areas.”
The partners will align federal support for Indigenous businesses and Indigenous procurement, and related legislation, together with a variety of federal and provincial supports for building a strong “critical minerals ecosystem”. The partnership will pursue opportunities for siting a lithium processing facility to convert raw lithium from the north into battery grade lithium for electric vehicles whose batteries will be manufactured in the south. Three Fires and Minodahmun have launched a feasibility study on the project, which is slated to be completed by the end of the year. If the study is successful, a lithium processing facility could be operational by 2027.
Active discussions are also taking place with several lithium mining companies in Northern Ontario around supply agreements and specifications to refine their products. The partnership is also exploring opportunities with BEV manufacturers and battery recyclers in Southern Ontario.
“This partnership is a step forward in building an integrated and sustainable BEV supply chain in Ontario,” said CEO John Glover of Minodahmun Development. “We believe that a lithium refinery is the missing piece to the puzzle for Ontario’s BEV supply chain.” Minodahmun’s First Nation shareholders are active in the emerging mining hub in Greenstone, which is home to world-class critical mineral deposits. Three Fires shareholders are within one of the fastest growing economies in Canada that includes the ‘automotive alley’ between Waterloo and Windsor.”
“This partnership is the first step in creating a “made in Ontario” supply chain for BEVs that includes significant First Nation participation,” said Reggie George. “We are confident that this project will help to position Ontario as a global leader in the BEV industry and ensure that First Nations are at the forefront of the transition to electric vehicles.”
“A lithium processing facility in Ontario would greatly reduce reliance on foreign imports of battery metals,” said Don Richardson, Director of Major Projects with the Three Fires Group. “We are looking to better utilize the Great Lakes for shipping battery materials and establish better linkages between Northern and Southern Ontario ports. At the end of the day, this all about enhancing the resiliency and efficiency of Ontario’s BEV supply chain, while building multi-generational wealth creation for our First Nation shareholders.”
The Mines to Battery Supply partnership builds on plans announced by the Three Fires Group in May 2023 to form a joint venture with Electra Battery Materials focused on recycling lithium-ion battery waste in Ontario. Under the joint venture, Electra and the Three Fires Group will collaborate to source and process lithium-ion battery waste generated by manufacturers of current and future battery cells, electric vehicles, and energy storage systems. The waste will be processed at a facility to be located in southern Ontario to produce black mass material that will be further refined using Electra’s proprietary hydrometallurgical process at its refinery complex in northern Ontario to recover high value elements, including lithium, nickel, cobalt, copper, manganese, and graphite.
“We are looking to optimize the critical minerals supply chain in Ontario to ensure a secure and sustainable flow of materials for EV vehicle production,” said Reggie George. “This includes identifying potential bottlenecks, implementing innovative logistics solutions, and promoting regional collaboration with First Nations, mining companies, battery makers, research institutions, and government agencies.”
First Nations, Canada and Ontario are well-positioned to benefit from the growth of the BEV industry. With strong mining and metals industries, and numerous of BEV manufacturers, the partnership between Three Fires and Minodahmun will help to capitalize on the growth of the BEV industry and create jobs and economic opportunities for all Ontarians, including First Nations.
About Three Fires Group
The Three Fires Group is focused on generating wealth and prosperity from economic and infrastructure opportunities for current and future generations. We lend our business capacity and technical expertise to fellow Nations within the Three Fires Confederacy traditional territories and external partners. Through investments and partnerships in major development projects, we support communities and industry to thrive in a modern and sustainable economy and advance reconciliation.
The Three Fires Group provided technical and investment assistance for the recently announced Three Fires Nations-Ontario Southwestern Ontario Infrastructure and Economic Opportunities Table – a joint Crown-Indigenous effort to develop clean energy infrastructure in Southern Ontario, including investments to build Ontario’s first large-scale electric vehicle battery manufacturing plants, five new regional transmission lines, and a forthcoming fleet of battery energy storage systems. For more information about the Three Fires Group, please visit: www.threefires.com.
About Minodahmun Development LP
Minodahmun Development LP is a 100% First Nation owned partnership created by Aroland First Nation, Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek, and Ginoogaming First Nation in 2019. Minodahmun has diverse range of investments and joint venture partnerships related to major projects in Ontario in the energy, mining, and real estate sectors. Minodahmun’s goal is to advance economic reconciliation and maximize First Nation opportunities and benefits.
For more information please contact:
Reggie George, Executive Director, Three Fires Group
John Glover, CEO, Minodahmun Development LP