Nemaska Lithium Inc. ("Nemaska Lithium" or the "Corporation") is pleased to announce that it has obtained issuance of its first United States patent (US 9,382,126) that describes its proprietary process of preparing lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate using membrane electrolysis. Nemaska Lithium first announced the notice of allowance for this US patent on June 1, 2016. Nemaska Lithium is also pleased to announce that it has obtained issuance of another Canadian patent, its second Canadian patent, CA 2,905,197. This patent specifically protects improvements of the electrolysis membrane process for preparing lithium hydroxide.
The electrolysis technology developed by Nemaska Lithium to convert lithium sulphate into lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate, has been successfully lab-scale tested, demonstrated in pilot plant testing as well as at supplier facilities over the past four years. This technology has given Nemaska Lithium a clear competitive cost advantage over its peers (per the 2016 Updated Feasibility Study press released on April 4, 2016). The commercial scale technology, protected under these patents, will be utilized in the Company's Phase 1 Plant which is currently under construction and is on track to be commissioned in January 2017, with ramp up to full production (500t/yr Lithium Carbonate equivalent (LCE)) in Q1 and Q2 2017. Nemaska Lithium intends to build its larger commercial lithium Hydromet plant with a nameplate production rate of 28,000t/yr LCE in 2017 and 2018.
"We have put together an extensive patent portfolio that protects the Company's unique method of producing low-cost, high-purity, battery-grade lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate," commented Jean-Francois Magnan, Technical Manager at Nemaska Lithium. "With close to 50% of our 2018 commercial lithium salts production already sold, we are very keen to start sending samples from the Phase 1 Plant beginning in early 2017."
Nemaska Lithium has developed proprietary environmentally friendly processes to produce a very high purity, low cost lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate using membrane electrolysis technologies. The main benefits of these processes include:
- low and predictable operating costs, C$2,693/t (*US$2,154/t) for lithium hydroxide monohydrate and C$3,441/t (*US$2,753/t) for lithium carbonate FOB Shawinigan per the feasibility study filed in May 2016;
- virtually no need to use costly reagents such as soda ash, thus eliminating sodium sulfate by-product which has no market value and is environmentally harmful; and
- significant reduction of green-house gas emissions (GHG).
These processes will enable Nemaska Lithium to have excellent control on cost and quality of its final lithium products, for the benefit of its customers.
*Cost Projections and Exchange Rate $1.00 CAD = $0.80 US - Per 2016 Updated Feasibility Study press released on April 4, 2016.