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Lithium suspense continues in North America

Lithium suspense continues in North America

North American lithium has been under the protection of the Corporate Creditors Arrangement Act since May 2019 (Image: Courtesy)

A decisive step was scheduled for Friday at the Supreme Court of Quebec In the epic Australian Sayona Quebec takeover of North American Lithium (LAN), but it will be Monday, June 28th instead.

This morning, Judge Martin Castongway was scheduled to hear the case, but postponed the hearing to June 28, because he lacked information from trustee Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton to confirm LAN’s sale to Sayona Quebec.

Within 10 days, the judge will also hear the petition of two Quebec companies objecting to the process that led to the selection of Australian Investissement Quebec, Sayona Quebec to take over the mine activities in Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

These two companies are Central American Nickel and SRG Mining, headquartered in Montreal. They bid for LAN, but were unsuccessful.

The first specializes in processing and purification of so-called energy minerals such as nickel, cobalt and copper, while the second specializes in mining projects in West Africa in graphite and base metals.

On June 28, Castonguay can certify the sale of LAN to Sayona Quebec.

However, it may temporarily suspend this process to verify the two companies’ claims. The judge can also set aside Sayona Quebec’s bid and order that the invitation to bid process be restarted.

Central American Nickel was one of two companies still in competition at the end of the bidding process.

LAN under protection Corporate Creditors Arrangement Law Since May 2019. It is controlled by the Chinese battery manufacturer CATL and Investissement Québec (the financial arm of the Québec government), in which the two shareholders have secured debts.

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Lithium North America is looking for an investor to replace China’s Jien International Investment (3rd shareholder, no secured debt), which in 2018 bought Quebec Lithium with IQ.

On May 27, Investissement Québec announced an agreement under which Sayona Québec – 75% owned by Australian Sayona Mining and 25% by American Piedmont Lithium – was selected to acquire LAN.

This agreement came as part of a lengthy legal process overseen by Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton (Observer).

‘serious violations’

However, on the same day, Central American Nickel and mining company SRG called on the government to return homework, criticizing a process marred by “serious irregularities”.

In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Francois Legault on May 27, including بما Business On a transcript, the miners noted in particular that the law firm hired by Investissement Québec (McCarthy Tetro) is the same firm that represents Sayona Québec.

In the eyes of two miners, this situation “at least puts them in the face of a conflict of interest,” we can read in this letter signed by I, Jacques Bouchard, attorney at Gattuso Bourget Matson, who represents the two miners.

This week, Central America Nickel and ABF Mines, Val-d’Or (and LAN’s ordinary creditor), filed for LAN’s case in Quebec’s Supreme Court — both companies represented by Gattuso Bourget Mazzone.

This petition contains several new allegations, which are based on a report submitted by Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton.

  • According to the participating applicants, Sayona Québec submitted two offers to buy (at two different prices) for the local network, while other interested companies submitted only one offer.
  • According to the co-applicants, Sayona of Quebec would not have met the April 6 deadline for submitting at least one show.
  • According to the participating applicants, Investissement Québec has not contacted observer Raymond Chabot.Assumption Agreement Concluded with Sayona Quebec. After all, Screen recommended that Crown sell LAN to Sayona Quebec.
  • According to the participating applicants, the accepted bid from Sayona Quebec had a deposit of $4 million ($1 million), while this deposit was supposed to be up to $9.8 million because it is the second highest bid from Sayona Quebec selected.
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In the proposal, the participating applicants asked the Supreme Court of Quebec three things: to replace Controller Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, that Investissement Québec report the agreement reached with Sayona Québec and launch a new operation. tender.

Investissement Québec and Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton declined an interview request to comment on these allegations.

Central American Nickel says it has the best deal

in an interview in BusinessCentral American Nickel President Pierre Gaultier still doesn’t understand why Investissement Quebec would prefer a Sayona Quebec takeover bid over his own – except that he denies it is a “painful loser”.

“We were repaying LAN creditors, we were repaying Quebec Investments, we were doing secondary lithium processing in Quebec, as well as Quebec was well positioned in the energy transition of electric car batteries,” he said, noting that “he had never seen in his country a tender process with many “Violations”.

Since the applications were submitted in April, Sayona Quebec has not given interviews to the media.

According to our information, Sayona Quebec is committed to secondary lithium processing in Quebec, but only within 5 years.

This miner already owns two projects in Abitibi-Témiscamingue: the Authier Lithium project (extraction and concentration of ore containing lithium) and the Tansim project, a property on which the company owns mining bonds.

Sayona Quebec also has an agreement with American Piedmont Lithium (which owns 25% of its capital), located in North Carolina, to sell half of the future production of the Ottier and Tansem projects, in order to achieve secondary lithium transformation. in the United States of America.

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