Hidden Lake in May 2023. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
One of the half-dozen or more lithium companies descending on Yellowknife this summer has announced the appointment of a land and community manager.
Eileen Marlowe of the Łútsël K’é Dene First Nation joined Loyal Lithium in May, the company said in a press release this week.
Yellowknife is in the grip of a lithium rush as companies mount drilling operations in a lithium-rich region east of the city, along the Ingraham Trail. Lithium is newly in fashion as an element critical to some forms of green technology, like electric vehicle batteries.
Loyal Lithium recently acquired a stake in a lithium project near Hidden Lake, a popular recreational area northeast of Yellowknife.
The company said Marlowe, formerly a communications specialist for the NWT government and Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board, would be tasked with helping to “foster and establish strong connections and relationships with the land and communities within the Akaitcho Territory.”
Marlowe was quoted as saying: “I look forward to contributing my broad experience to ensure an inclusive process in exploring and developing the Hidden Lake Lithium Project, and further building Loyal Lithium’s relationships with the local communities.”
The rush to drill for lithium over the next few months has helped to pack out Yellowknife hotel rooms and rekindled just a hint of the gold and diamond booms that the city previously experienced, though there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of lithium ultimately resulting in the same kind of outcome.
Some mining executives suspect lithium may be a passing fad and fear what will happen, for example, when newer forms of battery are invented.
Meanwhile, environmental advocates worry that open-pit lithium mining – the likely form that would be needed if an NWT mine opened – is not at all green, even if its end product is advertised as such.
So far, all lithium projects in the Yellowknife area are in their earliest stages and nowhere near the point at which environmental consequences would be meaningfully assessed.
Even so, Loyal Lithium said this week that it believes Yellowknife’s lithium “holds global significance,” adding: “Eileen’s profound connection to the land and community will play a pivotal role in enabling a sustainable future.”
Correction: June 17, 2023 – 11:34 MT. This article originally stated Eileen Marlowe had worked for the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board. It was actually the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board.