Nemaska updates Whabouchi 43-101, costs remain steady

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

Nemaska Lithium, headquartered in Quebec City, has updated the 43-101 report for the Whabouchi lithium mine-mill project 300 km northwest of Chibougamau and the electrochemical plant in Shawinigan. Both the capex at $1.3 billion and the operating cost per tonne of lithium hydroxide at $5,223 have not ballooned.

Nemaska estimates the average selling price of lithium hydroxide will be $18,200 per tonne over the life of the mine.

The updated technical report puts the after tax net present value at $2.3 billion (8% discount) and the after tax internal rate of return at 27.4%. The Whabouchi mine has an expected life of 33 years during which the project, will provide income of $20.25 billion.

The mill will produce 6.6 million tonnes of spodumene concentrate over the life of the mine, and the electrochemical plant will produce 1.1 million tonnes of battery grade lithium hydroxide from concentrates. Approximately 368,000 tonnes of spodumene concentrate will be sold on the market.

The Whabouchi mine has proven and probable reserves of 27.9 million tonnes at 1.33% Li2O recoverable by open pit methods. There are also underground reserves of 8.7 million tonnes at 1.21% Li2O.

Nemaska has decided to produce exclusively lithium hydroxide as the project moves toward commercial production. More equipment could be added later if the decision is made to produce lithium carbonate as well.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

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