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Canada: Lithium charging ahead

Ask Peter Secker, chief executive at Canada Lithium Corp. how he is feeling these days, and there’s a fair chance he will say “a lot better than this time last year.”

Over the past 12 months, Mr. Secker and the company have been to hell. But the good news: there is an exit door and the company is now cashed up and ready to complete the construction of its lithium production facility near Val d’Or in Quebec.

And when production starts near year end, thanks in part to $75-million in debt finance from the Bank of Nova Scotia that comes with a guarantee from Investissement Québec and a US$17-million lease facility from Cat Financial, it will make history as the country’s first domestic lithium carbonate company. It will mine about one million tonnes a year and produce about 20,000 tonnes of battery grade lithium carbonate that will be used to make lithium batteries.

In 10 days, another highlight: one of the first prototype electric vehicles built in Canada will be on display at a Lithium Summit in Montreal. The summit will also focus on grid storage, the ability to store mega-watts of electricity in very large lithium batteries.

Mr. Secker, who has been chief executive since the fall of 2009, said, “We had a stumble, but in terms of our timetable, we still have maintained that we will be in production by the end of 2012. We are about 20% complete on the construction side.” The project, which will create more than 250 jobs, is expected to cost more than $200-million.



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