MAC: Mines and Communities

USA: Piedmont's transition to indefinite delays

Published by MAC on 2021-08-06
Source: Reuters, Stockhead

County Commissioners denounced lack of disclosure of the potential impacts.

A preliminary technical and economic study for Piedmont's spodumene mine project, located in Gaston County, approximately 25 miles west of Charlotte, North Carolina, is available in this link.

The study includes a mine/concentrator to produce 160,000 tons of 6% Li2O spodumene concentrate annually, with quartz, feldspar and mica as by-products.

By its part, people living close to the project are denoucing that the proposed mine will hurt residents’ health, the environment and their quality of life.

Recent coverage of lithium exploration:

2021-06-16 Portuguese environmentalists condemn Savannah Resources ‘greenwashing’

2021-03-01 USA: Thacker Pass lithium mine approval challenged in courts

2020-12-16 The curse of 'white oil': electric vehicles' dirty secret

Piedmont Lithium delays timeline to supply Tesla

Ernest Scheyder

August 2, 2021

Piedmont Lithium Inc (PLL.O) said on Monday it will delay first shipments of lithium chemicals to electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) and that it does not have a definitive date for when deliveries could begin.

The decision was mutual, Belmont, North Carolina-based Piedmont said. Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The initial contract, signed last September, called for Piedmont to begin supplying Tesla sometime between July 2022 and July 2023 from a North Carolina lithium mine and processing facilities under development.

Reuters reported last month that North Carolina officials have voiced concerns about Piedmont's project - which would be one of the largest U.S. lithium mines - and may now block or delay it. The company plans to apply for a state mining permit this month.

Tesla, meanwhile, is building a plant in Texas that will convert Piedmont's spodumene concentrate into lithium hydroxide, a key building block for EV batteries. The automaker applied for Texas permits for its facility in April, according to state records, though it is unclear when that facility will be operational.

Piedmont said it is trying to sync its project development schedule with that of Tesla.

"We have built in some degree of flexibility based upon the needs of our customers and their timelines, and that consideration is mutually agreed upon," Piedmont spokesperson Brian Risinger said.

Piedmont is looking for investors to help fund the $840 million project. The company said on Monday it will apply next month for a loan from the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan program.

A class action lawsuit was filed last month against the company alleging that Piedmont's executives misled investors about its project development timeline. Piedmont said on Monday it believes the suit "to be entirely without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously."

Piedmont Lithium price plunges 20%, goes into trading halt on ‘project block’ threat

Emma Davies

July 21, 2021

Piedmont Lithium’s shares plunged 21% yesterday after claims the company has repeatedly delayed seeking approval from Gaston County in North Carolina for its proposed lithium mine.

In 2020 Piedmont signed a $840 million deal with Tesla which caused its stock to soar, with its proposed lithium mine to be the largest in the US.

The company told investors on June 9 that a rezoning application would proceed following additional pre-application consultation with Gaston County and community leaders following publication of its scoping study results.

But five out of seven county officials have now stated they may block or delay the project because Piedmont has failed to inform them about the mine’s potential environmental impacts – including effects on noise, dust, vibrations, water and air quality.

“This has been the worst rollout of a project from a company I’ve ever seen,” said Chad Brown, a commissioner who opposes the mine.

And that’s not all. Despite promising investors as early as 2018 that it would obtain permits by 2019, Piedmont has failed to do so – and now Gibbs Law Group is investigating a potential Piedmont Lithium Class Action Lawsuit on behalf of investors who lost money in the company.

The company is now in full damage control, announcing a trading halt after shares fell 21.03% today.

CEO Kieth Phillips is set to address the commission tonight around plans to apply for a state mining permit this summer, begin construction in April 2022 and be in production by the second half of 2023.


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