Mineral firm selects Red Rock site for Lithium processing plant

By Sandi Krasowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Chronicle-Journal

Rock Tech has chosen Red Rock to be the site for its lithium converter and processing plant after narrowing its site location down to Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Nipissing, Leeds and Grenville areas in Northern Ontario. On Friday, the Red Rock Indian Band, together with their partner BMI Group, a real estate infrastructure and development company, signed a memorandum of understanding with Rock Tech to finalize assessment and development criteria for a 50-acre area in Red Rock Township. Red Rock Indian Band Chief Marcus Hardy says he was confident that the community stood a good chance of being chosen for the site. “I’m overwhelmed. It’s such a good announcement and it’s such a good choice for Rock Tech,” Hardy said. “It’s extremely important for bringing hope and potential opportunities to the area. It’s a big deal.” Hardy called the potential for Red Rock’s economic growth “phenomenal.” “We project many, many jobs and opportunities for the youth and for all the demographics,” he noted. “It’s also going to be a huge economic driver in the region including Nipigon, Red Rock, Dorion, Hurkett, Lake Helen and all the surrounding communities. The former Norampac Paper Mill site was Rock Tech’s chosen site during the selection process because it is the closest site with industrial capacity to production at Rock Tech’s Georgia Lake deposit in the Beardmore area. This initiative means the development of new housing infrastructure. “There is a plan for the Red Rock mill site development for new homes or a small community of houses to be built within the township of Red Rock itself,” Hardy said. “There are also plans to build more homes in the surrounding towns and there’s a lot of opportunity coming to the mill site itself.” A common theme among the three groups is the concern for the environment and all parties equally agree on its importance. “When we pick partners, we discuss with companies that if they want to work with us, it’s really about having the same values of holding the lands and the water as most important for generations to come,” Hardy pointed out. “With the BMI group, it was very organic. It’s been a very easy process because they have the same values. They share a lot of the same sentiments that the Red Rock Indian Band members and leadership feel. So when we had talks with Rock Tech, it was again nice and fluid and organic, and they also share the same values as we do. It’s just such a breath of fresh air to meet an industry in which they care about impacts to the environment.” Rock Tech plans to build its next lithium converter and develop an integrated lithium supply chain by 2027.