Emerging Australian lithium producer Sayona Mining says it is awaiting court approval for its bid to acquire the assets of North American Lithium (NAL) as part of the latter company’s Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) proceedings. The bid has been made by Sayona subsidiary Sayona Quebec.
On June 11, NAL and the CCAA administrator, Raymond Chabot, filed a joint motion with the Superior Court of Quebec seeking the court’s approval for Sayona Quebec to acquire NAL’s assets. A preliminary motion was held on June 18, at which time the court scheduled a substantive hearing for June 28. The joint motion is being contested by an alternative bidder, an unsecured creditor of NAL. Sayona says it has the support of NAL’s secured creditors.
Should the court rule in Sayona’s favour (and customary regulatory approvals be given in Australia and Canada), Sayona Quebec is offering to assume NAL’s senior and subordinated secured debts totalling approximately C$112 million; repay the C$10.9 million interim financing facility extended to NAL by Investissement Quebec; repay Amperex Technology Canada’s senior secured debt of C$47 million; assume C$25.6 million in liabilities associated with closure and reclamation; and assume certain construction liens (if valid) of C$753,000.
NAL’s premier asset is its lithium carbonate project in Quebec. The former mine 60 km north of Val d’Or has proven and probable reserves of 17.1 million tonnes grading 0.94% lithium oxide.
The US Atomic Agency bought 3,800 tonnes of lithium carbonate from 1955 to 1965 from a former mining operation at the site. Production restarted in 2017, but NAL sought creditor protection in February 2019.
(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)