Canadian Mining Journal


LITHIUM: Nemaska readies first tonne of hydroxide for customer

The plant buildings in Shawinigan that Nemaska is using. Note the phase 1 plant on the left and the commercial plant on the right.

SHAWINIGAN, Que. – Nemaska Lithium of Quebec City is ready to ship the first tonne of lithium hydroxide solution to a client for evaluation. The solution was made at the phase 1 plant using lithium sulphate supplied by a client.

The phase 1 plant is now in continuous operation. It makes lithium sulphate from which lithium hydroxide solution is produced. The plant has undergone pressure testing and electrical start-up. Also complete are the membrane electrolysis unit and the hydromet start-up.

Nemaska considers the above steps to be of critical importance because the systems are covered by the majority  of the patents filed or granted to the company on its proprietary process. To date, the company’s proprietary process is performing at or above expectations.

Three more steps need to be completed before the phase 1 plant is complete. More lithium hydroxide samples remain to be sent to a customer. The crystallization section, where lithium hydroxide solution will become lithium hydroxide monohydrate (the solid form), is approaching commissioning. Finally, the plant will begin treating samples of spodumene concentrate from the Whabouchi mine 300 km northwest of Chibougamau, Que. This will begin in Q2 2017 after the calcination and roasting sections are commissioned.

Complete information about the plant and the mine are available at