Piedmont Lithium Advancing Integrated Project in North Carolina

Piedmont Lithium has reported the results of an updated scoping study of its vertically integrated Piedmont Lithium project in the Carolina Tin-Spodumene Belt in southwest North Carolina. The project includes a lithium hydroxide chemical plant that would be supplied with spodumene concentrate from an open-pit mine and concentrator.

The scoping study demonstrates compelling economics deriving from attractive capital and operating costs, long mine life, significant by-product credits, short transportation distances, minimal royalties, and low corporate income taxes. The study incorporates an expanded mineral resource update published in June that has extended the overall project life to 25 years.

The Piedmont Lithium project is based on a steady-state 22,700-metrictons- per-year (mt/y) lithium hydroxide chemical plant fed by a mine and concentrator producing 160,000 mt/y of 6% Li2O spodumene concentrate. Byproduct quartz, feldspar, and mica would provide credits to the cost of lithium production. The scoping study assumes two years of concentrate-only sales and 23 years of integrated operations. First quartile lithium hydroxide all-in sustaining costs are estimated at $3,565/mt. Development capital costs for the mine and concentrator are estimated at $106.2 million. Development capital costs for the chemical plant are estimated at $252.6 million.

Piedmont Lithium is now focused on a number of initiatives to create additional value for the project, including: continued Phase 4 drilling and expansion of the company’s land position; securing the necessary permits and approvals for the mine and concentrator; metallurgical test work for the production of LiOH from Piedmont spodumene concentrate; acceleration of development of the proposed lithium hydroxide chemical plant; a detailed study of the U.S. quartz, feldspar, and mica markets; and formalizing dialogues with a number of prospective strategic, technical, and offtake partners.

Piedmont Lithium President and CEO Keith D. Phillips said, “We are very pleased with the results of the updated scoping study, which reflect the benefits of a 25-year mine life, a refined concentrator flow sheet, and PFS-level engineering and metallurgy. The economic benefit of developing an integrated lithium chemical business in North Carolina is clear, driven by the exceptional infrastructure and human resource advantages of our location, as well as the competitive royalty and tax regime offered in the United States.

“Recent corporate transactions have reinforced the wisdom of the company’s integrated business strategy. We will continue to progress our mine/concentrator through the permitting and feasibility processes, but we will now redouble our efforts on the strategic front by accelerating our lithium hydroxide test work and intensifying the initial strategic discussions we have had with a broad array of potential strategic, offtake, and financial partners.” Piedmont Lithium is an Australian company headquartered in Perth, Western Australia. It has a U.S. headquarters office in New York City and an operations office in Belmont, North Carolina.

As featured in Womp 2019 Vol 09 - www.womp-int.com