Nemaska Lithium Inc announced the results of its initial production of spodumene concentrate from the Whabouchi mine, using a mine representative bulk sample. The plant is running continuously at half its capacity, 12 h/d since March 7, 2017. Operation is steadily ramping up and should reach a throughput of around 150 t/d.
Recent results from concentrate composite samples, produced on a 6-hour basis, yielded the following results:
March 7 (AM) – 2.89% Li = 6.22% Li2O
March 8 (AM) – 3.05% Li = 6.56% Li2O
March 8 (PM) – 3.09% Li = 6.65% Li2O
“Generally speaking, the hard rock lithium industry requires a 6% concentrate or higher to efficiently produce battery grade lithium salts,” said Guy Bourassa, President and CEO of Nemaska Lithium. “We have seen other hard rock producers struggle to achieve this quality concentrate, making it more technically challenging and costly to produce battery grade lithium salts. With this concentrate production we have met another important milestone as we continue to de-risk our project.”
It is expected that Nemaska Lithium will process sufficient raw ore minerals in the DMS plant to provide 650 t of spodumene concentrate with a view to producing lithium hydroxide samples in the Phase 1 Plant in Shawinigan, for qualification by potential customers.
“The operations team at Whabouchi is working diligently to ramp up the DMS mill to full run rate over the next few weeks per our schedule,” said Francois Godin, Vice President Operations. “We have been working closely with DMS experts from around the world to ensure the plant start-up is smooth and high quality concentrate is produced. We’ve learned a tremendous amount that will be directly applicable to the start-up of the commercial concentrator. I look forward to updating you further as we log more hours on the DMS mill.”
Nemaska Lithium intends to become a vertically integrated 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. It is developing in Quebec one of the most important spodumene lithium hard rock deposits 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 it holds four granted patents and several patent applications that are pending in different countries, covering different aspects and improvements of its proprietary technology for preparing high purity lithium hydroxide and carbonate.