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Nemaska clears production hurdle

Nemaska Lithium (CN:NMX) has produced its first shipment of battery-grade lithium hydroxide from its own spodumene concentrate at its Whabouchi lithium project in Quebec, Canada.
Nemaska clears production hurdle Nemaska clears production hurdle Nemaska clears production hurdle Nemaska clears production hurdle Nemaska clears production hurdle

Nemaska Lithium has started delivering lithium hydroxide from its Whabouchi operation

Cameron French in Toronto

The company said the 1.5 tonnes of material was in the process of being shipped to a cathode manufacturer in Quebec, and that additional deliveries of lithium hydroxide were expected to take place over the next few months.

While production from the main commercial facility at Whabouchi isn't expected to begin until late next year or early 2019, Nemaska is producing from a demonstration plant to prove out its patented method for producing lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate from spodumene using membrane electrolysis.

Nemaska has already produced about 24t of lithium hydroxide from a customer's lithium sulfate solution, but this is the first production from Nemaska spodumene.

"This is the first time a new entrant to the market has produced battery grade lithium hydroxide from ore to final product," said Nemaska CEO Guy Bourassa.

The company's shares jumped 18% to a new all-time high close of C$2.19 in Toronto. The stock has risen about 60% year to date.

The lithium hydroxide was derived from a 6.3% spodumene concentrate that was produced from a bulk sample. The company said independent laboratory analyses conform that the lithium hydroxide meets specifications of cathode manufacturers globally.  Nemaska produced about 1,100t of concentrate from the bulk sample and will convert the remaining concentrate into lithium hydroxide samples to send to customers to begin qualifying itself as a supplier.

Nemaska is one of a group of Canadian producers gearing up to supply what is expected to be massive demand from the lithium-ion battery market. The company plans to produce 27,500 tonnes per annum of lithium hydroxide and 3,245tpa of lithium carbonate from Whabouchi.