New Lithium Mines Planned for Canada May Challenge Pollution Rules
Canada’s environmental regulations have lagged behind the global rush to develop deposits of lithium, a rare metal found in the rechargeable batteries that power millions of iPads, smartphones and laptops, says a new report.
The recent surge in lithium exploration, driven by a consumer electronics explosion and limited world supplies, includes several companies developing Canadian sites.
But Canada has little historical experience of lithium extraction, and existing environmental regulations are not well-tailored to the burgeoning industry.
“The Metal Mining Effluent Regulations do not specifically regulate all of the individual substances of concern that might be released from the mining or processing of rare earth elements and lithium,” says the report.
The regulations “were not specifically designed to manage the environmental aspects of these mining processes.”