QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Feb. 7, 2013) - Nemaska Lithium Inc. ("Nemaska" or the "Corporation") (TSX VENTURE:NMX)(OTCQX:NMKEF) is pleased to confirm that it is proceeding with the building of its Phase 1, maximum 500t/year capacity, lithium hydroxide and carbonate processing plant in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec. A construction and installation budget of $25 million has been prepared by Met-Chem Canada Inc. (Met-Chem). The budget includes engineering, procurement, construction management and also a contingency of 15%. The company is considering financing options which include a combination of equity and debt.
The current schedule, prepared by Met-Chem, calls for the Phase 1 plant to be commissioned during the month of December 2013 with production commencing in January 2014. As announced on October 3rd, 2012, Nemaska has signed an off-take agreement with Phostech Lithium of Candiac, Quebec, for the supply of up to 500 t/y of lithium hydroxide. The Phase 1 plant will also be used to supply samples of products to potential clients, with a goal of securing numerous additional off-take agreements. The Phase 1 plant will be installed in a rented space, located about 3 km from the land where Nemaska intends to build its large scale plant, in the Perron Industrial and Harbour Front Park. Construction is scheduled to begin in June, with all equipment expected to be received and installed in November of 2013.
"The Phase 1 plant will allow us to produce lithium hydroxide/lithium carbonate and generate cash flow ahead of the Whabouchi mine construction which is progressing well and is in the permitting stage," commented Guy Bourassa, President and CEO of Nemaska Lithium. "In addition to fulfilling our first off-take agreement and securing future sales contracts, we will benefit from the experience of running and operating our plant on a smaller scale, gaining invaluable know-how as we construct and design the larger commercial facility. The Phase 1 plant will initially be supplied with spodumene concentrate and lithium sulfate available on the open market and possibly spodumene concentrate from the Whabouchi deposit through a bulk sample program. We intend to secure enough feed for 2 years of production while we advance the Whabouchi mine through construction. In addition to processing spodumene concentrate, the Phase 1 plant will also be used to recover lithium from by-product lithium sulphate sourced from industrial rejects. This could represent another revenue stream from the licensing of our technology to industrial customers. This revenue has not been calculated in our financial models at this point and would be entirely upside to the Nemaska story."
The equipment purchased for the Phase 1 plant can be used in Nemaska's planned larger commercial plant or can be sold or leased to a customer wishing to use the Company's proprietary technology to recover lithium from lithium sulphate rejects.
Whabouchi project progressing in parallel
Nemaska also confirms that the Whabouchi project (mine and concentrator) is progressing as expected and is currently in the permitting process. The environmental, social and economic impacts study report for the Quebec Government (Quebec EESIAS) is in the process of being completed. The Whabouchi project is also subject to the review of the Canadian Environmental Agency (CEA). The Company has just received the instructions for the preparation and filing of the environmental, social and economic impacts study required by the CEA (CEA EESIAS) and it is currently in draft. A large portion of the work already completed for the Quebec EESIAS will be used and incorporated in the CEA EESIAS. Once both reports are filed, public hearings will be held, most likely in Nemaska, Mistissini and Chibougamau, before the Federal and Provincial governments can grant the final authorizations for the Whabouchi project. The Company expects the process to be completed within the next 12 months. As the permitting process evolves, Nemaska will issue update reports.
With permitting progressing as planned, Nemaska's consultant Met-Chem is advancing the feasibility study on the whole project (Whabouchi mine and concentrator in the Nemaska Cree community region and a lithium hydroxide and carbonate processing plant in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec). The Company expects feasibility study to be announced during Q2 of 2013. The completion and filing of the feasibility study has no impact on the overall schedule of the project as construction permits for the mine and concentrator are subject to the receipt of the certificates of authorization to be obtained from the Quebec and Federal environmental authorities.
Nemaska Lithium is a lithium exploration and development company with its Whabouchi and Sirmac deposits located in the James Bay Region in the Province of Quebec. Both projects are easily accessible year round by the Route du Nord from Chibougamau. The Whabouchi lithium deposit is located near the Cree community of Nemaska and the Némiscau airport. The Sirmac project is located about 150km North of Chibougamau. Nemaska plans to become a lithium hydroxide/carbonate producer based in Quebec and has filed patent applications for its proprietary method to produce lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate. The Corporation's lithium hydroxide/carbonate processing plant will be located in Valleyfield, Quebec.