The profile below is part of a campaign paid for by Nemaska Lithium. This profile provides detailed information, helping investors make better investment decisions. Nemaska Lithium’s support of Lithium Investing News ensures we can continue to bring you unbiased, independent news and information.
Nemaska Lithium Inc. (TSXV:NMX,OTCQX:NMKEF) is focused on becoming a supplier to the emerging lithium battery market using resources from its wholly-owned Whabouchi lithium deposit in Quebec. Nemaska has developed innovative methods of converting lithium sulfate into high purity lithium hydroxide and carbonate.
The world-class Whabouchi deposit is estimated to be one of the richest and highest grade lithium deposits in the world. A recent feasibility study suggests an initial 26 years life of mine, up from a previously estimated 18 years with a pre-tax internal rate of return of 25.2 percent a $924 million net present value and a payback period of 3.7 years. Nemaska Lithium is also working diligently to ensure a small environmental footprint for the mine and a positive economic impact for the nearby Cree community of Nemaska.
Development of the Whabouchi lithium mine was recently green-lighted by both the provincial and federal governments.
- Advanced lithium development company with high-grade mining assets and CDN Patent Allowance granted on process to produce high purity lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate using electrolysis.
- Key asset: Whabouchi – a world class lithium deposit
- 2nd richest and largest deposit in the world with 27.3 MT Proven and Probable Reserves
- Permitted Mine Site (Federal and Provincial)
- Proprietary chemical process means competitive production cost for lithium hydroxide and carbonate – as per Feasibility Study.
- Process uses electrolysis with the main input costs being electricity which in Quebec is $0.05 kWh, keeping our costs low and predictable
- Phase 1 Chemical Plant to be constructed in 2015/2016. Federal Grant received for $12.8M for Phase 1 Plant construction, additional funding for project currently being finalized.
- Focused on Lithium Hydroxide:
- Lithium hydroxide demand projected to outpace all other lithium compounds, including lithium carbonate, Tesla, Panasonic and others have chosen hydroxide as the chemical compound for their batteries
- Hydroxide is a better product for battery applications – higher power density, longer lifecycle and enhanced safety features
- Five new gigafactories have been announced and are coming on line requiring 100,000 tonnes of lithium compounds per year. This supply simply does not exist today. New capacity and new suppliers are needed. Nemaska is perfectly timed to address this market.
Located roughly 300 km from Chibougamau, Quebec, the Whabouchi Property is made up of one block totaling 33 claims over 1,761.9 hectares. The property features significant grades and volumes of spodumene hard rock lithium. Nemaska Lithium plans to develop the project as a combined open pit and underground minewith production being derived from the open-pit portion for the first 20 years.
Whabouchi benefits from its proximity to existing infrastructure, as there has been a significant amountof development by Hydro-Quebec in the area. The site is near the Route du Nord, the daily serviced Nemiscau Airport and the Relais routier Nemiscaucamp.
According to a feasibility study for Whabouchi released in May 2014, the project contains proven and probable reserve of 20 Mt of 1.53% lithium oxide for the open pit and proven and probable reserves of 7.3 million tonnes at 1.28% lithium oxide for the undergroundmine. This is the highest grade proven and probable reserve in North America and second highest in the world as well as the largest proven reserve known.
The feasibility study also resulted in significant economic improvements from a study released in 2012, including:
- an increase in the estimated life of mine from 18 years to 26 years
- a rise in net present value from $567 million to $924 million
- in increase in the pre-tax internal rate of return of 1.9 percent, rising from 23.3 percent to 25.2 percent
- little movement in capital expenditures, which remained within 15 percent of figures reported in 2012 when one considers inflation and currency exchange changes
Whabouchi is slated to be a low cost producing mine due to its low strip ratio of 2.2:1. This low amount of waste material will allow for a smaller mining pit and waste pile, keeping Nemaska’s environmental footprint small and respecting the environmental wishes of the nearby Cree population in the village of Nemaska. The footprint of the open pit was reduced by 11% from the original proposed design. With regards to the processing of the spodumene concentrate into lithium hydroxide, Nemaska uses electrolysis where the main input is electricity. In Quebec that is hydroelectricity and is therefore quite clean, making Nemaska Lithium’s final lithium products one of the greenest in the industry. The deposit at Whabouchi also features fewer impurities such as mica, sodium and potassium than amounts commonly found in other lithium deposits. This translates into a simpler processing for a higher quality end product.
In July 2015, Nemaska received a positive federal environmental assessment decision for the Whabouchi Project from the Minister of Environment Canada. In September 2015, Nemaska received the General Certificate of Authorization for the Whabouchi Project from the Qeubec government. With Federal and Provincial support for the Whabouchi mine and concentator in place, the company can now focus on moving the project toward construction.
“Whabouchi is the only permitted lithium project within the Eeyou Istchee James Bay territory,” said Guy Bourassa, President and CEO. “Quebec is an excellent jurisdiction in which to build a mine, in particular the Eeyou Istchee James Bay region. Since the beginning, our project has been supported by the various Quebec exploration funds. As we move towards a construction decision, the project benefits from the recently relaunched Plan Nord program from the Quebec Government.”
Social and Environmental Impact
As a lithium producer with end users based in the green technology market, Nemaska Lithium is working hard to reduce any environmental and social impacts. In addition to a fly-in, fly-out program for mine workers, Nemaska Lithium is looking to employ local members of the Cree nation in order to lower costs and increase economic benefits for the local community.
Importantly, Nemaska Lithium’s mine plan does not encroach on any lakes or rivers. Overall, the small pit size and low strip ratio of the project will make Whabouchi a relatively low impact mine.
Located in Shawnigan, Quebec, Nemaska Lithium’s lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate production plant will transform spodumene concentrate from spodumene lithium hard rock deposits into high purity lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate for use on the expanding lithium battery market.
Nemaska Lithium will construct a Phase 1 demonstration plant in advance of building a larger production facility. The plant will use Nemaska’s proprietary lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate processes, and will have an average combined capacity of about 500 tonnes per year.
Nemaska Lithium has opted for a demonstration plant in order to qualify its products with customers and sign off-take agreements before construction of the commercial plant. Other advantages this strategy provides include:
- the opportunity for initial staff training and development of skills for quick start of the commercial plant
- the opportunity for process improvements
- the opportunity to determine process parameters, capital costs, and operating costs with high precision.
The plant will use Nemaska Lithium’s proprietary electrolysis process to produce high purity lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate. Unlike more traditional processes that use soda ash to produce lithium carbonate for the production of lithium hydroxide, Nemaska’s electrolysis based process produces lithium hydroxide directly, eliminating a greater amount of impurities. Nemaska has advanced its electrolysis process in order to nearly eliminate the use of soda ash in the creation of lithium compounds, as the volatile price of soda ash can greatly affect the price of lithium.
In September 2015, Nemaska announced the signing of an agreement in principle with the City of Shawinigan, Quebec for the acquisition of part of the land and part of existing manufacturing facilities. The facilities will house Nemaska Lithium’s Phase 1 plant and the future commercial Hydromet Plant that will convert the spodumene concentrate produced at the Whabouchi Mine into high purity lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate.
Under the agreement in principle, Nemaska Lithium will be able to use the buildings required for the Phase 1 plant as of October 1, 2015. The company will take ownership until January 1, 2016.
Guy Bourassa – President, Secretary and Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Bourassa is President and CEO of Nemaska Lithium Inc. since the Company’s inception in 2008, bringing more than 30 years of experience in the mining industry to this role. Among other things he was instrumental in identifying and negotiating the acquisition of the Whabouchi lithium property and securing over $50 million through financings in the capital markets to develop the Whabouchi project.
Steve Nadeau, CPA, CGA – Chief Financial Officer
Professional accountant for more than 22 years, Mr. Nadeau is a member of the CPA, CGA Association of Québec as well as the CGA Association of Canada since October 1998. Prior to joining the Company as Chief Financial Officer in May 2008, Mr. Nadeau held several senior financial positions at companies producing products related to the granite industry, electronics and automotive field as well as companies involved in the maritime transport and warehousing. Mr. Nadeau is also Chief Financial Officer of Monarques Resources Inc. since March 2011.
Jean Francois Magnan, Eng. M.Sc. – Technical Manager
Mr. Magnan is a professional engineer with more than 20 years of experience in the metallurgical industry. During his career, he held several positions within the lithium industry including: R&D Advisor, R&D Project Manager, Consultant and Quality Control Metallurgist. He also acted as Project Manager for Phostech Lithium Inc. in 2000 and 2001. He will work closely with Nemaska’s technical consultant, Mr. Gary Pearse, on the technology implementation as well as playing an active role in securing new contracts for Nemaska’s lithium products. Mr. Magnan is the author/inventor of several patents in the lithium rechargeable batteries field. He holds a Master’s Degree in Materials Engineering from Laval University (2000).
Michel Baril, Eng. – Chairman
Mechanical engineer, with over 30 years of experience in management. Mr. Baril was a top executive with Bombardier Inc. Presently he acts as director of numerous public and private companies.
Paul-Henri Couture – Director
Mr. Paul-Henri Couture has over 35 years of experience as a financial management and investment professional. He has held senior positions at the Caisse de dépôt and placement du Québec and at Sentient Asset Management Canada. During his tenure at the Caisse, Mr. Couture led a team responsible for a $3 billion investment portfolio with a focus on financial institutions and natural resources sectors. While at the Caisse, Mr. Couture also launched two innovative mining funds: Groupe Sodémex Inc. and MinQuest Capital. He built and developed a $3-billion portfolio in turnarounds and corporate restructurings. Mr. Couture is President of Minvest Capital, a business providing management and investing consulting services.
Vivian Wu – Director
Ms. Wei Wu is General Manager of Sichuan Tianqi Lithium Industries Inc., a lithium chemical producer that converts spodumene concentrate in different lithium compounds, since December 2012. From May 2009 to December 2012, Ms. Wei Wu acted as Vice President (Corporate Development) of Chengdu Tianqi Industry Group Co., Ltd., an integrated corporation group involved in three main business areas: lithium compounds, minerals and agricultural machinery. The corporation has its headquarters in Chengdu City, the economic hub of south west China. Ms. Wu is also a Director of Sichuan Tianqi Lithium Industries Inc. since November 2011. Before joining Tianqi Group in 2009, Ms. Wu worked as Manager with Corporate Development Office for Nokia (China) Investment Co., Ltd. from October 2006 to April 2009, and held the position of Director of Consultancy and Services at Cerbibo Information Technology Co., Ltd. from 2004 to 2006. She worked as lecturer at University of Electronic Science and Technology of China from 2000 to 2004. Ms. Wu has a Master of Arts Degree from University of Electronic Science and Technology of China.
Gordon Gao – Director
Mr. Gordon Gao is Vice President of TQC Equipment Inc. (TQCE), the Canadian subsidiary of Chengdu Tianqi Industry Group Co., Ltd.. Before joining TQCE in 2009, he worked as an international business manager of Chengdu Enwei Group Co., Ltd. from 2002, which is specialized in medicine and health products. Mr. Gordon Gao holds a Bachelor degree of Economics of East China Normal University, Shanghai, China (2000).
Judy Baker – Director
Judy Baker is a consultant in the mineral industry and currently serves on the board of directors of Nemaska Lithium, Star Gold and Arbitrage Exploration. Ms. Baker has 20 years of experience in the mining and mineral exploration sector including equity analysis, fund management, and exploration and mining company activity. Ms. Baker holds an Honours B.Sc. Geological Engineering in Mineral Resources Exploration from Queen’s University (1990) and an M.B.A. from the University of Western Ontario Business School (1995).
René Lessard – Director
Mr. Lessard is an independant sales consultant. He was the Sales Manager of Campagna Motors Inc. and also of T-Rex Vehicles Inc. for over 4 years. He also acts as a director of Monarques Resources Inc.