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Nemaska chooses Becancour for lithium plant

Nemaska’s Whabouchi lithium deposit in Quebec’s James Bay region, 300 km northwest of Chibougamau. (Credit: Nemaska Lithium)

Nemaska Lithium has secured an option to purchase a 500,000 sq. metre plot of land in an industrial park in Becancour, Quebec. The company intends to build a chemical conversion facility that will produce battery grade lithium hydroxide. The feed will come from the Whabouchi spodumene mine in the James Bay region.

The Becancour site was chosen for several reasons, chief among them is year-round access to a deep water port. This is a greenfield site so the new facility can be designed and built without the problems associated with existing buildings. Finally, the site is outside an urban setting.

The patented lithium hydroxide technology was developed at the company’s phase one plant in Shawinigan, Que.

The Whabouchi mine is located 30 km from the Cree community of Nemaska and 350 km north of Chibougamau, Que. An open pit mine and concentrator are under development for 24 years of production at a mining rate of 2,830 tonnes/day. That will be followed by underground mining for nine years at a rate of 3,665 tonnes/day.

Nemaska emerged from creditor protection in August 2020 under the joint ownership of Investissement Quebec, Pallinghurst Group, and Orion Mine Finance. The company was delisted from the TSX last year.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)