Avalon Advanced Minerals Inc. signed a memorandum of understanding to create a strategic partnership with Metso Corp. The partnership will develop a lithium hydroxide production facility to process lithium mineral concentrates.

Avalon will use Metso’s solutions at the facility, located in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Metso will conduct testing and engineering work across Avalon’s portfolio of critical mineral projects, including the flagship deposit at Separation Rapids near Kenora, Ontario.

The two companies share a similar vision and values, Avalon said. “We view Metso as an integral part of this rapidly growing sector, and a foundational partner in developing internationally best-in-class processing capabilities that are environmentally sustainable, allowing Avalon to meet the soaring demand for battery-grade lithium,” said Zeeshan Syed, president.

Metso said its solutions will help the facility meet safety and environmental regulations. “The innovation advantages of the alkaline process allow for elimination of the use of potentially harmful chemicals such as sulfuric acid and comparatively reduces overall solid waste and emissions, making it environmentally friendlier and, overall, safer for workers and local surrounding communities,” said Mikko Rantaharju, head of hydrometallurgy.