Whabouchi Project: lithium, the metal of the future


Nemaska Lithium’s Whabouchi project is located 30 kilometres from the Cree community of Nemaska in the Eeyou Istchee/James Bay territory, 280 kilometres north of Chibougamau.

Nemaska Lithium

The project involves the mining of a major deposit of spodumene-bearing pegmatite (lithium oxide). During the first 20 years, the mine will operate as an open pit, after which it will become an underground operation accessed via a ramp within the open pit. The mine will treat approximately 3000 tonnes of ore per day in the first 26 years of its lifespan. The ore will be concentrated on site. Approximately 213 000 tonnes of concentrate (600 t/d) will be transported off site each year.

The concentrate will be transported by truck to Chibougamau and, from there, by train to a processing plant operated by the company in Shawinigan, where it will be used to produce two value-added lithium compounds, lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate.

These lithium compounds are commonly used in the manufacture of batteries for tablets, mobile phones and electric cars, in lubricants, and in other products.

The Whabouchi project has been targeted by an environmental and social impact study which has been submitted to the Quebec Review Committee (COMEX), to the Quebec Cree bipartite body responsible for examining projects south of the 55th parallel, as well as to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA). The public hearings required by the provincial and federal levels of government were held in November 2013 and April 2015, respectively.

UPDATE (November 2016)

Certificates, permits and patents

Nemaska Lithium has obtained, from Québec’s department of sustainable development, the environment and the fight against climate change (Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, or MDDELCC), a general certificate of authorization, which is the key permit for developing a mine project in Québec.

Previously, Nemaska obtained a positive federal environmental assessment decision for the Whabouchi Project from the Minister of Environment of Canada. As a result, the company holds all the basic environmental authorizations needed for the Whabouchi project.

Nemaska has also announced the issue of a patent describing its proprietary process of preparing lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate from spodumene sources using membrane electrolysis.

The company has received a notice of allowance for the corresponding US patent application.


In March 2016, Nemaska Lithium closed a non-brokered private placement of $13 million, including $10 million in favour of Ressources Québec inc. and $3 million in favour of the Cree community of Nemaska.

It has also secured a $12.7 million grant for the construction and operation of its Phase 1 Lithium hydroxide hydromet plant in Shawinigan from the federally-funded Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).

The company Johnson Matthey Battery Materials Ltd (JMBM) has granted an up-front payment of $12 million in exchange for services and products of the same value and a long-term supply agreement for lithium salts.

On July 8, 2016, Nemaska Lithium completed its public offering for $60 million, to be used mainly for the commercial construction project.

Infrastructure and production

Nemaska has completed the purchase of a former industrial property in Shawinigan for the construction of its Phase 1 Plant to produce lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate.

The site will also house the future Commercial Hydromet Plant that will convert spodumene concentrate into high purity lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate.

The company has announced that it has purchased a portable and modular mill that will be used to process a mine-representative bulk sample from the Whabouchi lithium mine. It will be operational beginning the first quarter of 2017.

Nemaska Lithium
  • Company: Nemaska Lithium Inc.
  • Region: Eeyou-Istchee / James Bay
  • Substance: Lithium (spodumene)
  • Status: In development

This document contains forward-looking statements that address future events and conditions and so involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ from those currently projected. The Corporation does not assume the obligation to update any forward-looking statement.

The information contained in this fact sheet is derived from public and verifiable sources.