QUEBEC – The preliminary economic assessment is positive for the Whabouchi mine and a lithium hydroxide-carbonate plant, says owner Nemaska Lithium of Quebec City. The project includes an open pit mine and concentrator in the James Bay region, 300 km from Chibougamau, plus a secondary processing plant in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, near Montreal.
According to the PEA, 3.8 million tonnes of 6% Li2O spodumene concentrate will be converted into 366,000 tonnes of battery grade lithium hydroxide and 177,000 tonnes of battery grade lithium carbonate over an 18-year mine life. Taking the base case assumptions of US$8,000/t for lithium hydroxide and US$6,500/t for lithium carbonate, the project will generate US$4.1 billion over its projected life. The average cost per tonne of lithium hydroxide produced will be C$3,400 and for lithium carbonate will be C$3,500.
The initial capital costs of the mine and processing plants will be C$454 million (including a contingency of C$50 million and C$15 million for working capital). The project will pay back the capital costs in only 3.8 years.
The Whabouchi deposit has proven and probable reserves of 19.6 million tonnes grading 1.49% Li2O, making it the second-richest lithium deposit in the world, according to Nemaska.
More information is available at NemaskaLithium.com.