QUEBEC CITY—A Canadian lithium mining and processing company has struck a major investment agreement with Japan tech heavyweight SoftBank Group Corp.
Nemaska Lithium Inc. announced last week SoftBank has agreed to buy a 9.9 per cent stake in the company for $99 million.
The deal comes as Nemaska works to secure approximately $1 billion in financing to fund full-scale construction of a lithium mine in the central part of the province and a processing plant in Shawinigan, Que. The Quebec company said the private placement agreement will form an “important component” of the overall project’s financing.
“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,” Guy Bourassa, the miner’s president and CEO, said in a statement.
Along with holding a nearly 10 per cent interest in Nemaska, the investment grants SoftBank to a right of first offer on 20 per cent of the lithium hydroxide produced at the company’s Shawinigan plant, so long as it retains at least a five per cent stake in the Quebec miner. The Japanese company will also get a discount on the material used in electric car batteries based on a pre-determined market price-based formula.
The deal is expected to close by April 15.