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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

State extends timing on Piedmont Lithium’s Gaston mine plan

North Carolina regulators granted Piedmont Lithium’s request for more time to complete the state’s review of the application to start a mine in Gaston County, the Reuters news service reported.

The proposed mine is expected to become a major source for lithium for electric vehicle batteries. But neighbors and the Gaston County Commission have expressed opposition to the company’s plans, alleging harmful environmental impacts.

Belmont-based Piedmont asked for the deadline for information to be extended through May 24, 2024, instead of the previous late November deadline. It initially applied for the permit in August 2021. Since then, the state has asked for more information and the deadline for responses has been extended a few times.

Piedmont said it needed the additional time to study the use of a synthetic liner, rather than a clay liner, for a waste rock pit that would be as high as 152 meters, or about 500 feet, Reuters reported. State regulators have often asked mining applicants to use synthetic liners.

While it works on developing the North Carolina mine, Piedmont has invested in other global miners to expand its supply of lithium. It has invested in Quebec’s Sayona Mining and Atlantic Lithium, which operates in Ghana.

Shares of Piedmont traded for about $24 today, which is at the low end of the 52-week range of $23 and $76. The company has a market cap of about $462 million.

Gaston County officials have said they are waiting for the state’s decision on Piedmont’s application before taking further action.

David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg is editor of Business North Carolina. Reach him at dmildenberg@businessnc.com.

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