MRO Magazine

Quebec mine will produce high-grade lithium for growing battery market

July 20, 2017 | By MRO Magazine

New mine and processing plant in Quebec will produce high-grade lithium for the fast-growing battery market

New mine and processing plant in Quebec will produce high-grade lithium for the fast-growing battery market.

ABB will serve as the Key Technical Supplier and project management for electrification and automation for Nemaska Lithium’s new lithium mine. Nemaska Lithium is developing the Whabouchi spodumene deposit to meet the growing global demand for lithium batteries to be used in electric vehicles and energy storage systems, as well as in various consumer electronics. The initial lithium mine lifespan is projected at 26 years. The mine is located in the James Bay Region of Quebec, Canada near the Cree community of Nemaska.

For this project, ABB will design, procure and deliver the systems and infrastructure that will enable the mine, concentrator and Hydromet plant to operate efficiently, safely and reliably. ABB will provide integrated automation and electrification systems, including power infrastructure and equipment, control systems and other automation equipment and software along with ongoing site services. Furthermore, ABB will interface with third party vendors to ensure fast-track project execution and a lifetime of operational efficiency for the customer.

“ABB has been committed and engaged from the early days of this project, and continues to be a proven partner and a collaborating member of the project team,” said Guy Bourassa, CEO and President of Nemaska Lithium. “Their local and global teams, mining industry know-how and execution proficiency has helped us build a competitive project, while taking advantage of the latest digital automation and power technologies that will sustain our operations well into the future.”

The mine will extract ore from one of the world’s richest (by volume and grade) spodumene hard rock lithium deposits. The Hydromet plant, which will be located in Shawinigan (Quebec), some 600 kilometres away from the mine site, will use Nemaska Lithium’s patented process to transform the ore into highly valuable lithium hydroxide and also lithium carbonate.


ABB Ability solutions will provide the electrical and automation infrastructure needed to run this process, integrating real-time monitoring by smart sensors and analytics applications with Nemaska’s core business and management processes. The integrated approach will enable Nemaska to leverage artificial intelligence and predictive analytics after the ramp-up phase of the project.

Once all deliveries have taken place, ABB will continue to work with Nemaska Lithium onsite to ensure that their operational, productivity, energy efficiency and safety goals are met over the lifetime of this mine.

ABB’s leading portfolio of digital solutions, ABB Ability, combines ABB’s deep domain expertise with network connectivity and the latest digital technologies to help customers develop new processes and advance existing ones by providing insights and optimizing planning and controls for real-time operations.

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