Nemaska Lithium provides project construction update

by Keith Powell
Compact ore processing footprint

Compact ore processing footprint — Photo courtesy Nemaska Lithium Inc.

Nemaska Lithium Inc. (“Nemaska Lithium” or the “Corporation”) (TSX: NMX) (OTC: NMKEF) is pleased to provide a construction project and development update for its Whabouchi mine and electrochemical plant in Shawinigan (the “project”).

Occupational health and safety are of paramount importance to Nemaska Lithium, and as of October 27, 2018 the Corporation is pleased to report that there has been no lost time due to injury during the 245,397 construction and engineering hours worked at both Whabouchi and Shawinigan construction sites.

Construction is progressing as planned at both Whabouchi and Shawinigan locations. As of October 27, 2018, commitments totaled  $315.9M or 36% of the total project budget of $874.7M, including contingency. The total budget of $874.7M includes $73.5M already invested by Nemaska Lithium as at November 30, 2017 and identified as sunk costs in the 2018 Feasibility Study.

Guy Bourassa, President and CEO of Nemaska Lithium said, “As expected, we remain on track per our plan. As winter has arrived at both facilities, I am often asked about weather impacts on construction and operations. Accordingly, we fast tracked the pouring as much as possible of the concrete at the mine site and were able to complete most of it prior to the freezing. Naturally, the execution calendar takes into consideration the winter conditions. In addition, construction is moving ahead inside the concentrator building and we will be able to start installing equipment as it arrives at site.”

As for the purchasing packages for both sites, 75% of the budget has been committed for the Whabouchi mine and 45% for the Shawinigan electrochemical plant, putting Nemaska Lithium in line to complete the project construction per the timeline. Concentrate production is expected to commence in the second half of 2019 and lithium salts production is scheduled to start the second half of 2020.

The detailed engineering for the Whabouchi mine site, excluding the electrical engineering, is 84% complete with the electrical engineering estimated to be 55% complete. Detailed engineering at Shawinigan is 38% complete and the electrical engineering has just begun. Engineering at both sites is tracking to schedule, per the construction timeline targets.

Inside the Concentrator building, showing large open area with workers.

Inside the Concentrator building. — Photo courtesy Nemaska Lithium Inc.

Whabouchi Project Construction

At the Whabouchi mine site, procurement of the main equipment is complete, and mine site construction is progressing rapidly. The primary crusher foundation is completed and the retaining wall is installed, as well as the foundations for the electrical room, the secondary crusher and the dome for the fine ore and residue. Inside the concentrator building, significant developments continue, with the pouring of the concrete, the first overhead crane, ventilation and electrical wiring trays. In addition, the foundation for the process water tank and thickener has been installed. The dome which will hold the finished concentrate product before shipping has also been erected and the maintenance garage foundation is complete.

Shawinigan Project Construction

At Shawinigan, the procurement team proceeded with a call for tender on six important packages and completed the technical and commercial evaluation of these. The Corporation is expecting to award these lots in the current quarter. The site preparation is moving forward at the forecasted pace in tandem with the detailed engineering. Preparation of the flash calciner area is continuing and has been readied for the pouring of the concrete pad, located outside the main building. Civil work on-going inside the main two buildings, the piling and foundations adjustments activities to start. In addition, the administrative office building is nearing completion with scheduled move-in date in December 2018.

“The major metrics to watch at Shawinigan at this point are the level of detailed engineering and procurement of long lead items. As we said in our last report, all the long lead items have been ordered and we have good visibility into delivery dates. Likewise, we doubled our level of detailed engineering since our last report. The engineering impacts the layout of the facility and we are very pleased with where we are on that front,” Bourassa said.

About Nemaska Lithium

Nemaska Lithium is a developing chemical company whose activities will be vertically integrated, from spodumene mining to the commercialization of high-purity lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate. These lithium salts are mainly destined for the fast-growing lithium-ion battery market, which is driven by the increasing demand for electric vehicles and energy storage worldwide. With its products and processes, Nemaska Lithium intends to facilitate access to green energy, for the benefit of humanity.

The Corporation will be operating the Whabouchi mine in Québec, Canada, one of the richest lithium spodumene deposits in the world, both in volume and grade. The spodumene concentrate produced at the Whabouchi mine will be processed at the Shawinigan plant using a unique membrane electrolysis process for which the Corporation holds several patents.

Nemaska Lithium is a member of the S&P/TSX SmallCap Index, S&P/TSX Global Mining Index, S&P/TSX Global Base Metals Index, S&P/TSX Equal Weight Global Base Metals Index, and the MSCI Canada Small Cap Index. For more information, visit www.nemaskalithium.com or twitter.com/Nemaska Lithium.

Forward-Looking Statements Apply. 

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