SIGMA Lithium Corporation, dedicated to powering the next generation of electric vehicles with Battery Grade Sustainable Lithium Concentrate (“Green Lithium”), announced significant project updates and renewed commitments to its existing social initiatives as it.
On March 31, 2023, Sigma Lithium, with its headquarters in Vancouver, B.C., was awarded its environmental operating license (LO), permitting the company to produce Green Lithium, with the unanimous vote of approval including from all the NGOs with a seat at the CMI. The LO enables the company to sell all Green Lithium products from current and future production, including any stockpiled product. After a successful SUPPRI inspection in February 2023, LO certificate number 4078 was issued, thus concluding the licensing process and approving Sigma Lithium to commence commercial operations at its Phase 1 Mine and Greentech Plant.
The Company is also pleased to report that the commissioning of the Phase 1 dense medium separation (“DMS”) circuit of its Greentech Plant remains on schedule with initial production expected to commence in April 2023. This follows the successful completion of the crushing circuit commissioning of the Greentech Plant as announced on February 13, 2023.
Sigma Lithium has held the required dual environmental licenses for both construction and initiation of its wholly-owned Grota do Cirilo project since 2019. Sigma Lithium obtained both the construction license as well as the installation and commissioning license for its Greentech Plant from the Conselho Estadual de Politica Ambiental (COPAM), which is the Council of Environmental Policy of the State of Minas Gerais in Brazil. The dual LP and LI certificates permitted the Company to build and install the Phase 1 Mine and Greentech Plant, conduct trial mining, and test the Greentech Plant, including stockpiling products as part of the commissioning and ramp-up of production capacity. COPAM issued the dual LP and LI certificates for a period of six years expiring on May 31, 2025.
Engineering firms appointed to lead Greentech plant expansion studies and construction
Sigma Lithium has appointed DRA Global Limited (“DRA”) to work alongside Promon Engenharia Ltda. (“Promon”) on the design and construction of Phases 2 & 3 expansion of the Greentech Plant, which is expected to be fully funded internally through cash flow generation.
DRA was selected for its international experience in advanced mineral processing, specifically with lithium DMS plant design, and its construction management experience. DRA has a track record of on-time and on-budget execution of assignments in the mining, metals and chemical sectors.
Scaling up of social initiatives
As the Company advances to becoming a lithium producer, Sigma Lithium is pleased to announce the scaling up of its existing social initiatives, aiming to lift its communities and support women’s economic empowerment.
Sigma Lithium has established the largest privately funded microcredit program in Brazil, targeting female entrepreneurs in the Jequitinhonha Valley region, with a target total enrollment of up to 10,000 women. The program reaches approximately 50% of the economically active female population of the broader urban and rural areas of the towns of Itinga and Aracuai. The initiative is developed jointly with NGO “Dona de Mim,” part of “Mulheres do Brasil”, the largest civil society movement in the country with over 120,000 women as members of its network.
Through this program, the Company will encourage sustainable development by providing microcredit loans of R$2,000 (approximately US$400) per person along with mentorship programs to support the entrepreneurs on their journey to financial self-sustainability. The total investment by the Company is estimated at approximately R$25,000,000 (approximately US$5 million) to be deployed over the next 12 months, including ongoing entrepreneurship training and monitoring costs.
The Company is proud to report that a total of 730 female entrepreneurs have now enrolled in the program and that 500 participants have already received a microcredit loan. Most recently, 500 women from the microcredit program attended the Governor’s visit with Sigma Lithium. This program aims to advance the goals of UN SDG #5 (Gender Equality) and UN SDG #10 (Reduced Inequalities).
Sigma Lithium also announced its plans to introduce a program, in partnership with the State-General Attorney of the state of Minas Gerais (“TJMG”) and the Military Police of Minas Gerais (PM-MG), to combat domestic violence against women in the Jequitinhonha Valley region. This program advances the goal of UN SDG #5 (Gender Inclusion), UN SDG #10 (Reduced Inequalities) and UN SDG #16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions).
Zero droughts for smallholder farmers
The Company announced during its participation at COP-27 in Egypt its “Zero Drought for Smallholder Farmers” program, a climate mitigation initiative of building 2,000 rainwater capture basins for smallholder family farmers in the municipalities of Itinga and Araçuaí in the Jequitinhonha Valley. The program reaches approximately 50% of the local rural agricultural lands of the towns of Itinga and Aracuai. These water capture basins will be dug into the ground and located at strategic points to prevent soil erosion during the heavy rainfall season, store water for irrigation of small crops during the nine-month dry season and contribute to increasing the volume of water that will feed the region’s aquifers.
Water for all
Additionally, the Company committed to donating 3,000 water tanks as a further climate mitigation initiative, aimed to increase water security for communities in the Jequitinhonha Valley. The Company also committed to maintaining the water supply of the tanks by providing water trucks year-round, enhancing water security for the communities. This program, which is now in progress, advances the goals of UN SDG #6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) and UN SDG #13 (Climate Action).