Livent and Pallinghurst to Acquire Nemaska Lithium

Livent Corp of Philadelphia, PA has announced its participation in the consortium that was granted court approval to acquire the business and certain assets of Nemaska Lithium Inc of Quebec City, QC. Livent says it has agreed to invest in New Nemaska via a joint venture with The Pallinghurst Group. Both companies will equally own Quebec Lithium Partners (QLP), which will have a 50% equity ownership in New Nemaska. The remaining 50% of New Nemaska will be owned by Investissement Quebec, an arm of the provincial government.

Nemaska sought protection from creditors at the end of last year in order to finalize financing for the construction and operation of its Whabouchi spodumene mine and Shawinigan electrochemical plant, both located in Quebec. The Pallinghurst Group became involved in the project last year when Nemaska was looking to raise funds for the Whabouchi mine project.

Livent recently reported a third quarter net loss of US$11.8 million on sales of US$72.6 million versus a net income of US$18.0 million on sales of US$97.7 million in the same period of 2019. Livent says that the results reflect the continuation of difficult market conditions for the industry as a whole, as global supply chains remain disrupted as a result of COVID-19. The company’s third quarter revenue was higher than the second quarter, driven by an increase in lithium hydroxide volumes. However, this was more than offset by costs from higher third-party carbonate usage and increased spending due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paul Graves, Livent’s CEO, said, “We continue to see evidence that demand for lithium compounds will accelerate in 2021 and beyond, with growing support for electrification from OEMs, governments and consumers, despite significant disruptions in 2020. Our ongoing partnership with Tesla and our agreement to invest in New Nemaska are examples of this. The major priorities we are seeing from our customers – the shift to lithium hydroxide and the growing importance of localized sustainable supply chains – are core advantages for Livent that will continue to position us as an industry leader for years to come.”

Albemarle Corp of Charlotte, NC has reported that its Lithium segment generated third quarter 2020 net sales of US$265.6 million, down from US$350.4 million in the prior year period. Adjusted EBITDA for the segment fell from US$127.5 million to US$97.8 million.

Albemarle’s lower lithium sales are attributed to lower contract and market pricing, a reflection of 2020 battery grade price adjustments that were agreed to late in 2019. The decline in EBITDA was due to lower sales, partially offset by cost savings initiatives and efficiency improvements.

Albemarle expects its Kemerton, Australia and La Negra, Chile expansion projects to be commissioned in 2021 with sales beginning in 2022. Pricing is expected to be down slightly, primarily due to lower average realized pricing for carbonate and technical grade products.

Piedmont Lithium Ltd of Australia has announced that it will partner with SGS Canada Inc of Lakefield, ON to complete a pilot-scale spodumene concentrater testwork program using a bulk sample collected from the company’s lithium project in North Carolina. The plot program will target production of a large sample of spodumene concentrate with at least 6.0% Li2O and less than 1.0% Fe2O3, for use in future pilot-scale lithium hydroxide testwork programs that Piedmont will complete as part of the definitive feasibility study of the company’s planned integrated lithium plant.

Volume 34, Issue 22

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