RB Energy Restarts Concentrator in Quebec

RB Energy Inc of Vancouver, BC reports that unusually cold temperatures in northern Quebec during the first quarter of 2014 made the operation of Quebec Lithium’s crushing and grinding circuit problematic, with fine ore freezing in the storage silos. Consequently, the company elected not to operate the concentrator and focused on the commissioning of the hydro-metallurgical circuit of the plant using spodumene concentrate stockpiled during the commissioning of the concentrator circuit. Subsequent to the end of the quarter, RB restarted the concentrator with the objective of achieving continuous battery grade lithium production and first sales by the end of May. Nemaska Lithium Inc of Quebec City, QC has announced the results of a positive feasibility study for its Whabouchi mine and concentrator in lower James Bay and hydromet plant in Valleyfield, QC. When compared with the preliminary economic assessment released last year there are a few differences, including: the expected mine life has been increased from 18 to 26 years and the initial capital cost has been increased from CDN$389 million to CDN$448 million. Guy Bourassa, Nemaska’s CEO, said, “It is important to review the results of this feasibility study on a number of levels. First, the cost of our spodumene concentrate FOB mine site of CDN$189/tonne compares very favorably to our competitors globally. Second, the physical characteristics of the Whabouchi ore body are homogenous, having low sodium, low potassium and low mica content. These impurities are known to cause issues and add costs during the production of spodumene concentrate and high-purity battery grade lithium carbonate or hydroxide. This is not a problem for Nemaska.” A formal production decision is expected to be made following the receipt of Certificates of Authorization from the relevant Quebec and federal government regulatory authorities. Rockwood Holdings Inc of Princeton, NJ has reported a first quarter adjusted EBITDA of US$41.1 million on net sales of US$115.8 million for its Lithium segment compared with US$46.9 million on sales of US$118.5 million in the first quarter of 2013. The sales decrease reflects a 65% reduction in potash sales, mainly volumes, and lower volumes from organ metallic products, driven mostly by butylithium. This was largely offset by significantly higher volumes of lithium carbonate and hydroxide. Adjusted EBITDA decreased primarily from lower potash sales. Seifi Ghasemi, Rockwood’s CEO, said, “We remain on track for executing on our strategic objectives. We expect to use approximately US$500 million of cash on hand to close on the acquisition of a 49% interest in Talison Lithium during the second quarter.”

Volume 28 issue 10

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