Nemaska Lithium Inc. ("Nemaska Lithium" or the "Corporation") (TSX:NMX)(OTCQX:NMKEF) is pleased to provide an update on the concentrate production from the Whabouchi mine site and the Phase 1 Plant commissioning.
Nemaska Lithium is currently producing high quality spodumene concentrate (Li2O) using a Dense Media Separation (DMS) Modular Mill at the Whabouchi mine site. The concentrate is produced from a mine representative bulk sample taken from the Eastern end of the main dyke, within the planned pit. The Corporation observed between 2% and 4% muscovite (mica) in the sample, which is representative of the metallurgy used in the feasibility study. Muscovite removal systems have been designed into the flow sheet for the commercial concentrator.
Since March 8, 2017 and up to April 2, 2017, close to 1,200 tonnes of ore was processed through the DMS plant with an average head grade of over 1.75 % Li2O. For testing purposes, two composite concentrate samples were taken daily over a 12-hour shift. To create each composite sample, a total of 6 sections were taken hourly and homogenized together, from which 1 kg of material was sent to an external laboratory for testing.
The assay results received up to March 30, 2017 returned an average grade of 6.2 % Li2O for the dense media concentrate. The fines (more finely crushed ore that is not suitable for DMS processing), with an average head grade of 1.38% Li2O, will be concentrated by SGS Lakefield via floatation circuit. The results of the concentrate production from flotation are expected within about 60 to 90 days.
Join Francois Godin, VP Operations for a tour of the mine site development to date including concentrate production at the DMS Modular Mill at Whabouchi. Click here for video: https://vimeo.com/211382727/a2c7bd8d49.
Phase 1 Plant Update
Nemaska Lithium continues to make significant progress on construction and commissioning of the Phase 1 Plant. Nemaska Lithium's production teams are active in the field accelerating plant delivery and optimizing processes already commissioned.
Below are the steps that have been completed to date as well as upcoming steps:
Step 1 - Pressure Testing and Electrical Systems Start-up - Completed
As previously reported, the auxiliary systems, piping, holding tanks, electrical systems etc. have all been commissioned and are performing to specification.
Step 2 - Membrane Electrolysis Start-Up - Completed
As previously announced, the Corporation has commissioned the electrolysis cell with synthetic lithium sulphate in a closed loop system. The electrolysis cell has successfully converted lithium sulfate solution into lithium hydroxide solution. Since commissioning, the electrolysis cells have operated for over 400 hours and are performing within specified parameters including membrane performance, current efficiency, etc. Nemaska Lithium's technical team is very pleased with the cells performance to date.
Below is simplified flow sheet highlighting the sections of the Phase 1 Plant commissioned in Step 2.
Step 3 - Phase 1 Plant Ramp-up - Commenced
The next step is to produce battery grade lithium hydroxide from lithium sulphate solution provided by a client. This step involves the commissioning of the purification systems to reduce impurities in the lithium sulphate prior to the membrane electrolysis stage. The commissioning of the impurity removals systems is completed and lithium sulfate from a customer is currently being processed.
Below is simplified flow sheet highlighting the sections of the Phase 1 Plant commissioned in Step 3.
Step 4 - Lithium Hydroxide Samples to a customer - In Progress
Initial samples of lithium hydroxide are expected to be sent to a customer in early Q2 2017 for quality control purposes and evaluation. See Step 4 flow sheet above for process.
Step 5 - Lithium Hydroxide from Whabouchi Concentrate - On Target
The Corporation intends to start processing spodumene concentrate from the Whabouchi Mine into lithium hydroxide samples in Q2 2017 after the commissioning of the calcination and roasting section of the process. These samples will be sent to numerous potential customers globally.
Below is simplified flow sheet highlighting the sections of the Phase 1 Plant commissioned in Step 5.
For an up-close look at the progress being made at the Whabouchi Lithium Mine and Shawinigan Phase 1 Plant, join Guy Bourassa, President and CEO, as he gives you a tour of the facilities under construction and discusses the Corporation's milestones for 2017. https://vimeo.com/202417527
The technical parts of this press release were prepared by Caroline Boudrias-Chapleau, Eng., M.Sc., Process Engineer - Mineral Processing of the Corporation, qualified person under Regulation NI 43-101.