Canadian Mining Journal


METALLURGICAL TESTS: Whabouchi material yields high-grade spodumene concentrate

QUEBEC - Testing of samples from Quebec City-based Nemaska Exploration's Whabouchi lithium-beryllium project i...

QUEBEC – Testing of samples from Quebec City-based Nemaska Exploration‘s Whabouchi lithium-beryllium project in the James Bay region have shown that a high-grade spodumene concentrate can be produced. The tests were conducted by SGS Minerals Services at Lakefield, ON.

Spodumene concentrates containing from 3.26-3.37% Li (7.02-7.25% Li2O) are composed of 88-91% spodumene grains respectively. The concentrate has been roasted, leached and 95% of the lithium in the concentrate was extracted into solution. The solution is undergoing hydrometallurgical processing for test production of lithium carbonate.

In addition, using the rougher concentrates only, without subsequent cleaner stages, the best two tests combined averaged 2.81% Li (6.05% Li2O) with average recovery of 79%. Spodumene concentrate grades as low as 2.8% Li (6.0% Li2O) with recoveries over 80% of contained Li are satisfactory for production of battery grade lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide monohydrate. This would indicate that the usual cleaner stages will be unnecessary in concentrating Nemaska ore for battery applications resulting in lower cost processing.

The Whabouchi resource calculation made public in May 2010 included measured and indicated resources of 9.77 million tonnes grading 1.63% Li2Oand 458 ppm BeO plus an inferred resource of 15.40 million tonnes grading 1.57% Li2O and 420 ppm BeO.

Details of the Whabouchi project are available in the corporate presentation at