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Piedmont receives mining permit for Carolina lithium project

15th April 2024

By: Mariaan Webb

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

     

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US-based Piedmont Lithium has received a mining permit to build and operate its fully integrated Carolina project, which is being designed to produce 30 000 t/y of lithium hydroxide.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources approved the permit, following a two-and-a-half-year review period.

“We plan to develop Carolina Lithium as one of the lowest-cost, most sustainable lithium hydroxide operations in the world, and as a critical part of the American electric vehicle supply chain,” commented Piedmont president and CEO Keith Phillips.

The project is being designed as a fully integrated mining, spodumene concentrate and lithium hydroxide operation.

Highlighting the strategic importance of the project, Phillips said that there were no such integrated sites operating anywhere in the world.

“The economic and environmental advantages of this strategy are compelling.”

“Technical studies have demonstrated that Carolina Lithium could be a low-cost producer of spodumene concentrate and lithium hydroxide, benefiting from exceptional infrastructure, minimal transportation distances, low energy costs, a deep local talent pool, and proximity to cathode and battery customers, as well as local markets for the monetisation of by-product industrial minerals.

“The project is further advantaged by the competitive corporate tax regime offered in the United States, the absence of significant royalties, and the benefits inherent in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. After-tax returns are what matter, and we are not aware of any jurisdiction that better combines the benefits of significant spodumene resources, deep customer markets, and low royalty and income tax regime,” said Phillips.

The mining permit approval is the precursor for the county rezoning process.

Construction will start following receipt of all required permits, rezoning approval and project financing activities.

Phillips said that Piedmont has had extensive dialogue with possible funding sources for the Carolina project, including the US Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office and strategic parties who could provide some combination of capital and offtake.

“We have been encouraged by those discussions and will endeavour to put in place a strong funding plan that will maximise value for Piedmont shareholders.”

Piedmont is listed on the Nasdaq and ASX.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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