QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC and SHAWINIGAN, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - Aug 14, 2017) - Nemaska Lithium Inc. ("Nemaska Lithium" or the "Corporation") (NMX.TO)(NMKEF) is pleased to announce a recap of milestones achieved over the course of the summer at both the Whabouchi mine and the Shawinigan plant.
Successful production of concentrate at Whabouchi
After producing sufficient spodumene concentrate from the DMS modular mill at Whabouchi to feed the Phase 1 Plant in Shawinigan, Nemaska Lithium will cease DMS operations in a few days . To date, about 1,100t of spodumene concentrate were produced with an average grade of 6.2% Li2O from a bulk sample of about 10,000t of ore. Over the course of this exercise, a total of 23,000t were blasted and crushed at the Whabouchi mine, leaving 13,000t of ore with an average grade of 1.75% Li2O in inventory which will be used in the start up of commercial operations.
About 600t of mineral fines (a more finely crushed material that is not suitable for DMS processing), at an average head grade of 1.32% Li2O, are being processed by SGS Lakefield via a flotation circuit. The results of this production should be released next September. Finally, a total of 3,600t of mineral fines with an average grade of 1.3% Li2O are in inventory for use in commercial operations.
"I am very pleased with the results of our bulk sample and concentrate production which has not only provided us with ample high quality concentrate for the Phase 1 Plant processing into lithum hydroxide samples for customers globally, but has also provided us with a stockpile of material for processing once we start commissioning our commercial operation," commented Guy Bourassa, President and CEO of Nemaska Lithum. "This program has been a complete success to date and demonstrated our ability to produce in excess of 6% Li2O concentrate, an important achievement that has not been easily matched by our peers."
A new delivery of lithium hydroxide from the Shawinigan plant
The Corporation produced an additional 4t of battery-grade lithium hydroxide to be delivered to its client Johnson Matthey (JM) over the next few days. This delivery is in addition to the 3.5t of lithium hydroxide delivered to JM on last June 20th. The installation and commissioning of the calcination and acid baking equipment has been completed, and the Corporation will begin transforming the spodumene concentrate, produced at the Whabouchi mine, into lithium hydroxide by the end of this month. The goal is to begin delivering samples to potential clients at the end of September.
This is an important stage in the development of Nemaska Lithium as it signifies the start of the qualification of its lithum hydroxide products by clients across the globe.
The construction of the commercial project is on track according to the schedule
Following the close of the $50M bought deal public offering completed on June 29th, 2017, Nemaska Lithium is pursuing detailed engineering with a view to undertaking construction of the commercial facilities at the Whabouchi mine and the hydromet plant in Shawinigan. The majority of the long lead equipment for the mine has been selected and orders should be confirmed through the course of the current quarter, as will the final selection of primary equipment for the hydromet plant.
"Our last financing has given us the resources to continue construction at the mine site where we have already built the commercial concentrator building, administrative offices and access roads within the mine site," Bourassa continued. "We have also contracted with Hydro-Québec to build 13 km of hydro line to the mine site from the nearest substation. In addition, our technical team has been working closely with our engineering consultants to finalize the design and layout of the commercial hydromet plant, enabling us to select key suppliers."
A new organizational structure
In an effort to streamline its organizational chart in order to better align it with its short- and medium-term objectives, Nemaska Lithium recently undertook a restructuring of its resources, leading to the abolition, effective today, of the position of Vice President, Operations occupied by Mr. François Godin. This reorganization will foster Nemaska Lithium's participative management philosophy, which supports an autonomous decision-making process at all levels. Participative management is at the core of Nemaska Lithium's culture of accountability, creativity and innovation that is demonstrated by all of its employees.
"One year after the project was launched, and on the eve of the construction of our commercial operations, we have been able to take a step back in order to adjust to our evolving priorities", said Mr. Bourassa. "With this optimized structure and the positive results from our summer activities, I am fully confident in our capacity to achieve our objectives for our shareholders, our employees, and the communities in which we operate. I wish to thank François for his contribution to the success of Nemaska Lithium."
Following this simplification of the organizational chart, the Project Director, Yves Painchaud, the Director of Operations for the plant, André Bouchard, as well as the future General Manager for the mine, whose recruitment process is underway, will now be joining the Technical Director, Jean-François Magnan, in reporting directly to the President and Chief Executive Officer, Guy Bourassa. At the same time, the Procurement & Contract Administrative Director, Marie-Josée Parent, will now report to the Chief Financial Officer, Steve Nadeau. Finally, Health & Safety Coordinator Richard Roy will now work under Simon Thibault, Director of Social and Environmental Responsibility.
About Nemaska Lithium
Nemaska Lithium intends to become a lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate supplier to the emerging lithium battery market that is largely driven by electric vehicles, cell phones, tablets and other consumer products. The Corporation is developing in Quebec one of the most important spodumene lithium hard rock deposit in the world, both in volume and grade. The spodumene concentrate produced at Nemaska Lithium's Whabouchi mine will be shipped to the Corporation's lithium compounds processing plant to be built in Shawinigan, Quebec. This plant will transform spodumene concentrate into high purity lithium hydroxide and carbonate using the proprietary methods developed by the Corporation, and for which the Corporation holds four granted patents, in addition to several other patent applications that are pending in different countries, covering various aspects and improvements of its proprietary technology for preparing high purity lithium hydroxide and carbonate.
All statements, other than statements of historical fact, contained in this press release including, but not limited to, (i) the release of results from SGS Lakefield's flotation circuit next September, (ii) the use of material stockpiled for processing upon the commissioning of our commercial operation, (iii) the transformation of spodumene concentrate from the mine into lithium hydroxide by the end of this month and the delivery of samples to potential clients at the end of September, (iv) the confirmation of mining equipment orders and final selection of primary equipment for the plant during the current quarter, (v) the improvement in participative management following the reorganization, (vi) the Corporation's capacity to achieve its objectives, and (vii) generally, the above "About Nemaska Lithium" paragraph which essentially describe the Corporation's outlook constitute ''forward-looking information'' or ''forward-looking statements'' within the meaning of certain securities laws, and are based on expectations, estimates and projections as of the time of this press release. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by the Corporation as of the time of such statements, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. These estimates and assumptions may prove to be incorrect.
Many of these uncertainties and contingencies can directly or indirectly affect, and could cause, actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Forward-looking statements are provided for the purpose of providing information about management's expectations and plans relating to the future. The Corporation disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements or to explain any material difference between subsequent actual events and such forward-looking statements, except to the extent required by applicable law.