Nemaska Lithium Inc. announced today an update on the lithium hydroxide production coming from its Phase 1 Plant.
Phase 1 Plant Thermal Roasting Commissioning
Nemaska Lithium has produced an inventory of lithium sulfate from spodumene concentrate coming from the Whabouchi Mine. The processing of this lithium sulfate into battery grade lithium hydroxide commenced last week at the Phase 1 Plant. The first tonne of this lithium hydroxide is expected to be shipped to a customer in November 2017. This milestone will mark the beginning of the qualification of Nemaska Lithium as a new supplier of lithium salts for the lithium ion battery market.
Lithium Hydroxide Production from Customer Lithium Sulfate
In addition, Nemaska Lithium has shipped another 4 tonnes of battery grade lithium hydroxide derived from a customer's lithium sulfate solution as the source of raw material. To date, Nemaska Lithium has produced and delivered 24 tonnes of battery grade lithium hydroxide for this customer who is using the lithium hydroxide in the production of cathodes for lithium ion batteries.
Guy Bourassa, President and CEO of Nemaska Lithium commented, "We have delivered 24 tonnes of battery grade lithium hydroxide coming from a customer's sulfate to date, which is an important technical achievement. To date, no other new comer to the market has produced battery grade lithium hydroxide. I am confident that we will deliver battery grade lithium hydroxide coming from our own ore to customers in the near term. The Phase 1 Plant is a small scale commercial plant which generates the quality of products we expect to produce once we have our commercial mine and processing facility up and running."
Nemaska Lithium has identified numerous potential clients which have requested lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate samples from the Phase 1 Plant. Over the course of the next few months, Nemaska Lithium will continue processing spodumene concentrate to produce sufficient samples of lithium salts to send to potential clients who have asked to evaluate and qualify products.
Project Financing and Timeline
As stated in its press release of October 10, 2017, Nemaska Lithium is currently evaluating a number of financing alternatives for the project including debt (from private lenders as well as traditional large banks) and/or a strategic investment either at the Corporation or the project level.
"This is our top priority and we are weighing the merits of a number of options to determine the best path forward. Our timeline for this project remains the same, being 9 to 12 months for construction and commissioning of the mine and 18 months for construction and commissioning of the chemical plant once we have our project financing in place."