Piedmont Lithium is an American company focused on finding an American solution to the problem of shortages in lithium – a critical component for a range of products essential to our way of life – now and in the future. Right now, the United States has to rely on other countries for the supply of this mineral, and most of what is produced is shipped to China. We believe that the United States and Gaston County have the potential to reverse that dependence on foreign sources and establish America as a global leader.
Lithium is an essential part of lithium-ion batteries that are used in electric vehicles (EVs). The worldwide demand for EVs has risen rapidly in the past few years and has the potential to reach more than 30 percent of annual vehicle sales by 2030. Beyond that, lithium is a vital part of the technology that powers mobile phones and computers; is used in batteries to store energy generated from wind and solar power; and is used in medical treatment for bipolar disorder.
Most of the raw lithium used domestically comes from Latin America or Australia, and most of it is processed and turned into battery cells in China – which manufactures about 83 percent of the world’s lithium hydroxide – and other Asian nations. Our commitment is to help America break free from this foreign dependence with a home-grown American industry.
Spodumene (pronounced spod-you-mean) is a mineral that contains lithium. Spodumene has one of the highest lithium content of all known minerals and is historically proven as a feed source for battery materials. Spodumene mineral from the Carolina Lithium Project will be used to make spodumene concentrate that will then be converted into lithium hydroxide.
North Carolina is home to the Carolina Tin-Spodumene Belt (TSB). The TSB is the only lithium deposit of its kind in the United States, and one of the most important deposits of lithium in the world. The lithium found in Gaston, Lincoln, and Cleveland counties has been an important source of lithium in the past and was the world’s largest source of lithium from the 1950s to the 1980s. We want to restore its global standing, and help make America a leader in its production.
There are several other lithium projects under development in the United States, but ours is the only one based on spodumene, as the TSB is the only spodumene belt in the United States. Most of the other U.S. projects will be using raw materials or processes that have not been proven at commercial scale, so there may be technical risks associated with them. We believe that our sophisticated, state-of-the-future processes pose no such risk, ensuring that ours will be one of the safest, most cost-efficient, most environmentally responsible operations in the world.
Safely, responsibly, and sustainably. We are committed to using the fullest possible range of proven, environmentally sound techniques, including in-pit ore crushing and covered conveying systems to reduce noise and dust. We will fully comply with the requirements of our federal, state, and local permits that are designed to protect air, water, and the community’s health and well-being. Piedmont Lithium will also use progressive land reclamation techniques to ensure we have no abandoned areas on our sites, and we will develop native plant habitats that will thrive after operations have ceased.
Yes. The Carolina Lithium Project will be a significant boon to economic activity in the region at many levels. The project itself will employ up to 500 locally skilled workers with an average of $82,000 per year in salary and benefits, and hundreds of others in construction and among suppliers. It will rely on the support of many local small businesses, including maintenance contractors, delivery drivers, caterers, machine shops, fabricators, and uniform services. Our business will also enrich the base of skilled manufacturing jobs in Gaston County and foster the expanded training programs for these workers. These factors should positively impact real estate values and economic activity in the immediate area and broader region, generating jobs, tax benefits, and additional investment.
There is no question that is a possibility. Companies that need lithium are more likely to locate in areas where the resource is easy to access and where there is a demonstrated commitment to supporting economic growth and expansion. So Piedmont Lithium could help Gaston County become a hub for suppliers and high-tech businesses in the lithium sector, much as BMW turned Upstate South Carolina into a hub for the automotive industry.
The U.S. is among the world’s strictest regulators of quarrying and industrial activity, and we will comply fully with local, state, and federal regulations to ensure the water quality meets the strictest standards. We will have continuous water monitoring programs and controls implemented according to our permit requirements, and conduct ongoing tests whose results we submit to the state. We are confident that we can build a safe, modern, integrated operation. For additional details, click here.
Noise impacts will be greatly reduced from a typical mining operation due to state-of-the-art techniques that will use in-pit crushing and conveying, enclosed conveying system and rail instead of truck hauling, indoor processing and operations, and increased setbacks and buffers. There will be land buffers and protective berms from public roads, schools, homes, and businesses, and we will adopt a robust noise mitigation plan. For additional details, click here.
Building electric conveyors throughout our project area will have the biggest positive impact in reducing traffic, dust, and noise. By creating a single integrated site for our quarry, concentrator, and lithium hydroxide manufacturing, we will sharply reduce the need for trucks to move material, and will limit delivery times for materials used in our process. We plan to utilize environmentally safe dust control technology and pave roads throughout our site operations and will submit a dust mitigation plan for county approval. For additional details, click here.
We will have progressive reclamation throughout our site. We will use excess rock to backfill quarries, leave no exposed excess rock piles, cover and plant the slopes of our excess rock pile as we build it. When we have finished operations, we will remove all permanent equipment and take down buildings in order to make the site desirable for post-project use. For additional details, click here.