The Québec government is investing a total of $130 million ($80 million in capital stock and $50 million in bonds) as part of a $-1.1 billion financing effort to commission a spodumene (lithium ore) mine at Nemaska, 300 km north of Chibougamau in Eeyou-Istchee James Bay territory. In addition, a commercial lithium hydroxide and carbonate plant will be built in Shawinigan, Mauricie.
Following this investment, Ressources Québec, acting as agent for the government, will increase its stake in Nemaska Lithium to nearly 13%.
In April, Nemaska Lithium announced that it had entered into an investment agreement with Japan-based SoftBank Group Corp. under which SoftBank will acquire up to 9.9% of Nemaska Lithium’s outstanding common shares. (Earlier post.)
It is expected that construction and commissioning will be completed within 15 months for the mine, and approximately 24 months for the commercial plant.
Spodumene ore from the Whabouchi mine will be converted to value-added lithium salts (hydroxide and lithium carbonate) and then sold primarily to manufacturers of cathode materials for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. One of these suppliers is located in the Montreal area, which could ensure that the entire value chain is located in Québec, the government said.
Nemaska Lithium will use a novel and patented electrochemical process that will produce lithium salts by membrane electrolysis, which generates products of high purity. In addition, this innovative electrochemical process, which is more efficient and more economical than the traditional manufacturing process, will use Québec’s hydroelectricity, thus further reducing its carbon footprint.
Thanks to Nemaska Lithium’s innovation, this project will have a significant structuring effect because it will facilitate access to lithium products for manufacturing companies that specialize in the manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles. By developing technologies related to the electrification of transport, the company joins the guidelines of the 2015-2020 Transport Electrification Action Plan, which aims in particular to reduce the carbon footprint of the transport sector.—Dominique Anglade, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Digital Agenda
Founded in 2007, Nemaska Lithium is a vertically integrated development company, from spodumene mining to the commercialization of high purity lithium hydroxide and carbonate. Its head office is located in Québec, while its activities are located in Shawinigan and the Whabouchi mine on the Eeyou-Istchee James Bay territory.