Manitoba

Growth, Enterprise and Trade

Mineral Commodities in Manitoba

Lithium in Manitoba

Lithium, the lightest metallic element, has physical and chemical properties uniquely suited to a wide range of applications including pharmaceuticals, glass and ceramics, and aerospace technologies. The manufacture of lithium batteries for use in personal electronic devices and electric or electric-hybrid vehicles is now causing a substantial increase in demand for lithium.

Modern lithium extraction is primarily from salt lake brines in South America, with a smaller amount sourced from the Greenbushes pegmatite in Australia. In Manitoba, lithium ore has been produced from spodumene pegmatite in the world-class Tanco deposit, located in the Bird River greenstone belt of the Archean Superior province.

The Manitoba Geological Survey is committed to improving the understanding of lithium resources in the province. Magmatic deposits such as the Tanco pegmatite have been identified in several areas of the Precambrian Shield and there is potential for other deposit types as well. Phanerozoic sedimentary basins overlying Precambrian basement in Manitoba contain several evaporitic units, the thickest being the Prairie Evaporite in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. These units may have contributed to the generation of lithium-bearing brines, comparable to modern salt lakes in South America, but have yet to be systematically evaluated for their lithium potential.

 

LITHIUM DEPOSIT TYPES

Magmatic deposits such as Li-bearing pegmatite and highly differentiated granite: largest known lithium resource in Manitoba

Lithium brine deposits: underexplored potential in Manitoba

Unconventional sediment-hosted Li deposits with jadarite (Li borate) or hectorite (smectite clay): not presently known in Manitoba

 

LI-BEARING PEGMATITE IN MANITOBA

Li-bearing pegmatite contains the largest known resources of lithium in Manitoba. The most prolific region is the Winnipeg River–Cat Lake pegmatite field, which hosts the world-class Tanco Lithium-Cesium- Tantalum (Li-Cs-Ta) deposit, along with other Li-bearing pegmatites (e.g., Coe, Pegli and Eagle) in the same vicinity.

Li-bearing pegmatites have been documented elsewhere in the Archean Superior province, for example at Red Sucker Lake, Red Cross Lake, Gods Lake, Cross Lake and McLaughlin Lake, and have also been identified at Wekusko Lake in the Paleoproterozoic Trans-Hudson orogen (Figure 1), indicating widespread potential.

Figure 1: Geological map of Manitoba showing locations of Li-bearing pegmatite

Figure 2: Drillcore (Far 16-7) from the Zoro lithium property at Wekusko Lake, showing bladed light green spodumene (a lithium-silicate mineral). Photo courtesy of Far Resources Ltd.

Figure 3: Outcrop photograph showing spodumene crystals at Wekusko Lake.

 

EXPLORATION PROJECTS IN MANITOBA (LI-BEARING PEGMATITE)

  • Alix Resources Corp.: Liz Lithium, Cross Lake

  • Ashburton Ventures Inc.: Violet-Thompson, Wekusko Lake

  • Far Resources Ltd.: Zoro1, Wekusko Lake

  • New Age Metals Inc.: Lithium One project, Winnipeg River

 

MANITOBA EXPLORATION AND MINING ADVANTAGES

  • Diverse, dynamic $59 billion economy — one of Canada’s strongest and most stable

  • Flexible transportation infrastructure for shipping by rail, air, road and sea

  • Supportive business climate and highly competitive mining tax regime

  • Easily accessible geoscience and exploration data

  • World-class deposits and high mineral potential in large underexplored regions

For more information, visit the Manitoba Mining Sector Profile.

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