The Separation Rapids lithium deposit. Source: Avalon Advanced Materials Inc.

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Rock Tech Lithium Inc. [RCK-TSXV] signed a letter of intent with Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. [AVL-TSX, OTC-AVLNF] to assess the technical and economic feasibility of jointly operating a lithium sulphate processing facility in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

This facility would be designed to accept lithium mineral concentrates from both Rock Tech’s and Avalon’s 100%-owned hard rock lithium deposits and convert them into a Lithium Sulphate, a precursor chemical for Lithium Hydroxide a key component of high-density cathodes used in the automotive lithium-ion battery market.

Rock Tech is focused on the development of tis 100%-owned Georgia Lake spodumene project, about 145 km northeast of Thunder Bay. According to a NI 43-101-compliant estimate, the project hosts a measured resource of 1.89 million tonnes, grading 1.04% Li2O, an indicated resource of 4.68 million tonnes of grade 1.00% Li2O, and an inferred resource of 6.72 million tonnes of grade 1.16% Li2O.

“The LOI with Avalon is in line with our strategy to build and operate a converter facility in Canada and Europe,” said Rock Tech Chairman Dirk Harbecke. He said his company sees the benefits of producing Lithium Sulphate in Canada and converting it to Lithium Hydroxide in Europe. “Therefore, the co-operation with Avalon complements this strategy,” Harbecke said.

Rock Tech shares advanced on the news, rising 5.4% or $0.05 to 98 cents in light trading volume. The shares trade in a 52-week range of $1.14 and 37 cents.

Avalon shares remained at $0.07 on volume of 696,500. The shares are trading in a 52-week range of 10 cents and $0.025.

The announcement comes after Avalon said it was investigating collaborative opportunities to establish a lithium processing facility in Northwestern Ontario. This was after Ontario Premier Doug Ford revealed Ontario’s interest in establishing new battery materials supply chains in the province.

Avalon’s 100%-owned Separation Rapids lithium deposit is one of the largest “complex-type” lithium-cesium-tantalum pegmatite deposits in the world, enriched in the rare, high purity lithium mineral petalite.

Avalon said the facility would produce lithium hydroxide, and would also accept concentrates from other producers of lithium minerals from the many pegmatic deposits in northern Ontario.

Under the terms of the LOI, both companies have agreed to design a process flowsheet that allows the treatment of petalite and spodumene concentrate. The product of the flowsheet will be Lithium Sulphate.

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