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Willows to enhance the waters of the North America Lithium Complex

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jan11,2024

Willows to enhance the value of waters of the North America Lithium Complex

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In this photo, we see a pool of mining waters and the fast-growing willow plantation carried out by Ramo.

  • Martin Guindon (View profile)Martin Guindon

The Sayona and Ramo companies are studying the feasibility and viability of a technology based on the planting of fast-growing willows to recover water at the North America Lithium Mining Complex, in La Corne, between Amos and Val-d' Gold. This project will also provide forest biomass that can be used for the restoration of the site.

Evaplant technology, developed by Ramo, is already used to reduce discharge of leachate from landfill sites. The company believes it can also be used for water discharged from mines. In addition to reducing effluent, this technology captures carbon.

Rather than discharging the water into the environment, we irrigate it using our technology and we come reduce these waters by the transpiration of the willows. So, in fact, we use willows as a large biological evaporator.

A quote from Xavier Lachapelle, partner and director of phytotechnologies at Ramo

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Xavier Lachapelle, partner and director of phytotechnologies at Ramo.< /p>

A technological showcase was therefore set up with the collaboration of the Misa Group, a network of expertise in mining innovation, in order to prove the concept at the North America Lithium Complex in Sayona over the next two years. According to Ramo, this is a first attempt in Quebec, or even in Canada.

The 20,000 fast-growing willows were planted this summer on an area of ​​just over one hectare. We have installed the technology and now we will put it into operation in the spring. This will make it possible to recover and reduce water at the site, explains Xavier Lachapelle.

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Willows use nutrients in the water for growth, such as nitrogen, then evaporate much of the water. This operation should make it possible to recover 3,100 cubic meters of mining water, the equivalent of an Olympic swimming pool, and to capture 16 tonnes of CO2 per year.

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A view of the Evaplant system set up by Ramo on the Sayona North America Lithium Mining Complex site, in La Corne.

Planting fast-growing willows on the North America Lithium Complex site also has the advantage of producing forest biomass which can be used for the gradual restoration of the site. This organic matter is essential for revegetating, for example, waste rock piles, often composed of rocks and overburden.

Fast-growing willows can be harvested every two to four years. Only the stems are then recovered. The root system remains on the ground and produces new stems. These productions can last 20 to 30 years.

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The fast-growing willow plants were planted at the end of last summer.

Ramo's idea is to use fast-growing willows that fix carbon and at the same time treat a quantity of water that is not gigantic but is enough to say that it has an effect, underlines Jean-Luc Bugnon, vice-president environment at Sayona.

It also allows us to grow organic matter, willows, which will be transformed in wood chips, he continues. For us, this is of great interest to succeed in moving forward with our objective of restoring the mining activities currently underway.

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Jean-Luc Bugnon, vice-president environment at Sayona.

Sayona therefore views its partnership with Ramo, which has willow plantations in La Corne, very favorably.

We are proud to participate in this project. We think it’s innovative. It’s 100% Quebecois. And it’s a local and regional involvement with a company that has a base directly in La Corne. For us, it’s truly extraordinary, says Jean-Luc Bugnon.

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Planting work on fast-growing willows carried out by the Ramo company on the site of the North America Lithium Mining Complex.

The Misa Group, which worked on the financial arrangement of the project, is also delighted with this partnership between the two companies.

With Sayona, the Ramo company is able not only to demonstrate the performance of its technology but also to demonstrate the costs and savings linked to this new way of doing things. This can reduce the required investments linked to mining restoration and allow faster restoration, a more substantial reduction in the footprint of the mining complex, indicates the general director of Misa, Alain Beauséjour.

This project involves researchers from the University of Montreal and UQAT. It receives financial support from the Ministry of Economy, Innovation and Energy as well as the Consortium for Research and Innovation in Industrial Bioprocesses of Quebec. Sayona thus benefits from assistance of $415,200.

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The Evaplant control center established by Ramo on the North America Lithium mine site in La Corne.

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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