03/01/2017 16:24 EST | Updated 03/02/2018 00:12 EST

Mining exploration by Alberta company spurs excitement in Manitoba

STEINBACH, Man. — Southeastern Manitoba may be on the verge of a mining boom.

An Alberta company has quietly acquired mineral claims over a large swath of the region.

Ruth Bezys, president of the Manitoba Prospectors and Developers Association, says it isn't known what they're looking for but the speculation is that it could be lithium.

She tells CTV Winnipeg that lithium might be found running along limestone rocks, which exists in the Steinbach area, or it could be diamonds and gold hiding below.

The geologist says lithium is a hot commodity right now as it is used to make batteries, cell phones and antidepressants.

Bezys says it could be years before anything is taken out of the ground.

“Let's hope they find something because it is good for the province and secondly let's hope there is enough to make it into a mine."

The province says the mineral rights holder is not required to disclose its interest in its claims, and confidentiality is important in the industry, especially for early stage projects.

(CTV Winnipeg)