The lithium boom is over and only one Canadian company is poised to emerge with a new mine – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – February 7, 2019)

Nemaska arranged a $1-billion financing to build a Quebec mine in the nick of time, while massive share price declines put other explorers’ projects out of reach

For a brief window of time, after Nemaska Lithium Inc.’s cafeteria went up in flames last week and the company halted construction of its mine in Quebec, questions swirled about what would happen next.

By Thursday, however, Nemaska’s workers were eating in a new cafeteria, operations resumed and the company’s investors were hardly burned — its stock barely down and trading at 60 cents — compared to everyone else in the lithium market.

Lithium — a key component in the batteries used in electric vehicles — started 2018 on a high note as prices for the metal drove investments in dozens of junior explorers.

But after months of price declines amid supply and demand questions, excitement has cooled. Now, most Canadian explorers are battling massive share price declines and difficulties raising financing, essentially putting their projects out of reach.

Nemaska’s chief executive Guy Bourassa, however, arranged a roughly $1-billion financing package that included a streaming deal, bonds and an investment from Japan’s SoftBank to build the Whabouchi mine and conversion plant in Quebec.

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