Canadian Mining Journal


LITHIUM: Nemaska Lithium Provides Whabouchi Project Update

Nemaska Lithium Inc. provided an update on the overall Whabouchi project and disclosed its quarterly financials.

The site of Nemaska Lithium’s hydrometallurgical facility in Shawinigan, Quebec. Credit: Nemaska Lithium.

“We have made good overall progress during the past months on both the construction at the Whabouchi mine and the detailed engineering at the Shawinigan plant. While we are carefully managing cash at our disposal, we are also reviewing financing opportunities and strategic alternatives with the help of our financial advisors. We are diligently proceeding one step at a time towards achieving our ultimate goals within the best possible timeframe in the best interest of all our stakeholders,” said Guy Bourassa, President and CEO of Nemaska Lithium.

As at March 31, 2019, the Corporation had on hand CAD $262.3M in unrestricted cash and cash equivalents and the equivalent in CAD $522M of restricted cash and in-trust deposits (mainly bond proceeds). As at March 31, 2019, CAD $190.1M has been incurred for the Whabouchi mine, and CAD $111.4M for the Shawinigan electrochemical plant.

Construction Execution Plan Underway

At Whabouchi, the foundations for the primary, secondary and tertiary crushers are completed and structural steel installation is well advanced. Furthermore, concrete pouring and backfilling are nearing completion, electric distribution is completed, and the construction camp, its cafeteria and training facilities are fully functional. About 50% of the crushing, ore sorting and concentrator equipment has been received, and most of it has been installed.

In Shawinigan, detailed engineering work for the electrochemical plant continues. The progress achieved over the past few months will be reflected in the updated 43-101 Technical Report – Feasability Study expected to be completed in June. As at April 30, 2019, the detailed engineering progress was estimated at approximately 55% complete, which will add considerable knowledge to the project that could translate into cost savings in the subsequent bidding and procurement process set to resume upon completion of the project financing.

As previously mentioned, the construction pace at both the Whabouchi mine and the Shawinigan plant has been adapted to ensure an optimal and efficient use of current resources. In addition, the majority of BBA’s recommendations received at the end of April have been implemented.

Financing alternatives under review

The dual-track financing action plan and review process of all available alternatives is underway as the Corporation is, with the assistance of Clarksons Platou Securities and National Bank Financial, in touch with different parties and analyzing potential available options. The reception of the BBA report at the end of April 2019 was a key element in advancing these discussions as it provided validation of the cost-to-complete estimate and the operational strategy.

Constant Deliveries Out of the Phase 1 Plant  

Activities out of the Phase 1 plant continue at a steady pace. High purity lithium hydroxide monohydrate commercial samples are delivered every week to current and potential clients internationally.

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