Pittsburgh — Piedmont Lithium has increased its lithium resources in North Carolina by 40% as it continues exploration and infill drilling activities related to its integrated lithium hydroxide project, according to the company's latest global mineral resource estimate issued April 8.
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The total mineral resource estimate from the company's North Carolina properties currently stands at 39.2 million mt, grading at 1.09% lithium oxide, Peidmont said, an increase of 40% compared with the company's previous mineral resource estimate issued in June 2019.
"Increasing the scale of our North Carolina minerals resource to 39.2 million mt at 1.09% Li2O establishes our asset as one of the largest spodumene resources in North America—and the only one in the US," Piedmont CEO Keith Phillips said in a statement. "The expanded resource offers the potential for increased annual lithium production, something we will evaluate as we prepare our updated scoping study for release next month."
Piedmont is targeting a May release for the scoping study and plans to release a definitive feasibility study for its integrated lithium hydroxide project in North Carolina in September, it said.
Construction of Piedmont's North Carolina concentrate operations is expected to be completed by the end of 2022, with the work on the chemical plant expected to continue into 2023, the company said in March, amid accelerating demand for battery raw materials in the US.
Piedmont previously said the North Carolina project is expected to produce 160,000 mt/year of spodumene concentrate and manufacture 22,700 mt/year of battery quality lithium hydroxide.