SoftBank Group Corp. is set to invest in the Canadian lithium company, Nemaska Lithium Inc. acquiring a stake up to 9.9 % in Nemaska.
The Whabouchi mine in Québec, Canada, one of the richest spodumene hard rock lithium deposits in the world, is to be developed by Nemaska which is building a lithium electrochemical plant (refining plant) at Shawinigan, which is expected to start commercial production of high-purity lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate in the latter half of 2020. SoftBank is aiming to contribute to the growth of the battery industry which is seeing increasing demand due to the demand for smartphones and electric vehicles. Approximately 33000 tons of lithium carbonate equivalent annually is expected from the Whabouchi mine which is said to have an initial lithium mine life of approximately 33 years. SoftBank will have the option each year to purchase up to 20% of Nemaska’s lithium product as long as it holds a minimum ownership interest of 5% and SoftBank will also have a right to nominate a director to be appointed in Nemaska’s board.
According to Guy Bourassa, President and CEO of Nemaska Lithium:
“Upon the completion of this transaction, SoftBank will be a new esteemed shareholder and customer for Nemaska Lithium and we are very pleased to welcome Softbank to our shareholder base and eventually welcome its nominee to our Board. As a global technology pioneer and leader, SoftBank’s culture of innovation melds very well with our own corporate values and is a clear endorsement of our approach to producing environmentally friendly, low-cost lithium compounds.”
Masayoshi Son, Chairman & CEO of SoftBank Group Corp also added the following about the new investment:
“This investment in Nemaska is of monumental importance to the SoftBank Group’s strategy. We are extremely pleased to be further accelerating the Mobile Revolution, an era of IoT (Internet of Things) and electric vehicles enabled by the fusion of technology and energy storage.”
About SoftBank Group
SoftBank Group Corp. is a Japanese multinational telecommunications and Internet corporation established on September 3, 1981, and headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.
It has interests in broadband, fixed-line telecommunications, e-commerce, Internet, technology services, finance, media and marketing, semiconductor design, and other businesses.
SoftBank operates SoftBank Mobile in Japan, owns Sprint Corp. in the U.S., holds stakes in Chinese e-commerce Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Japanese internet portal Yahoo Japan Corp and owns ARM Holdings PLC.
Founded in 2007, Nemaska Lithium Inc. engages in the exploration and evaluation of lithium hard rock mining properties in Canada. Owning 100% of the mine in Whabouchi in Québec, Canada, one of the richest lithium spodumene deposits in the world, both in volume and grade, Nemaska Lithium is a developing chemical company whose activities will be vertically integrated, from spodumene mining to the commercialization of high-purity lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate. Nemaska also owns the Sirmac property, which comprises 24 mining claims covering an area of 1,101 hectares located to the north-west of Chibougamau.