Piedmont Lithium gets mining permit for its project in North Carolina

April 15, 2024

Piedmont Lithium announced that the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s (NCDEQ) Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources (DEMLR) has issued an approval of Piedmont’s mining permit for the construction, operation and reclamation of the proposed Carolina Lithium project in Gaston County, NC. DEMLR provided the permit approval following a thorough review of the application submitted by Piedmont on Aug. 30, 2021. The mining permit is subject to conditions both customary and specific to Piedmont’s type of project.

“This is an exciting day for all of us at Piedmont Lithium. I would like to thank the leadership and staff at NCDEQ and DEMLR for their diligence in the process, as well as the members of our team who worked rigorously for more than two and a half years to ensure that every aspect of the Project met the state’s high standards for approval,” said Piedmont Lithium President and CEO Keith Phillips. “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. The Project is expected to contribute billions of dollars of economic output and several hundred jobs to Gaston County and North Carolina’s growing electrification economy.

The proposed mine, which can produce 30,000 metric tons of lithium hydroxide per year, could become one of North America’s largest sources of lithium.

It had run into regulatory hurdles after local residents, worried about the project’s environmental impact, raised objections.

“Carolina Lithium is a highly strategic project,” continued Phillips. “Located within both the renowned Carolina Tin-Spodumene Belt and the U.S. Battery Belt, the project is being designed as a fully integrated mining, spodumene concentrate, and lithium hydroxide manufacturing operation. There are currently no such integrated sites operating anywhere in the world, and 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, benefitting 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 monetization 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 rates.

“The North Carolina mining permit approval is the precursor for the county rezoning process, and we look forward to continued engagement with the local community and the Gaston County Board of Commissioners. Construction would commence following receipt of all required permits, rezoning approvals, and project financing activities. We have had extensive and ongoing dialogue with possible funding sources for Carolina Lithium, including the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office and strategic parties who could provide some combination of capital, offtake, and technical support,” said Phillips. “We have been encouraged by those discussions and will endeavor to put in place a strong funding plan that will maximize value for Piedmont shareholders.”


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