NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Piedmont Lithium Limited (“Piedmont” or “Company”) is pleased to provide an update on the development of the Company’s 100% owned Piedmont Lithium Project (“Project”) in the Carolina Tin-Spodumene Belt (“TSB”) in North Carolina, United States. The Company remains on schedule to update its Mineral Resource estimate and Scoping Study near mid-year; to receive required permits and regulatory approvals by year-end; and to complete a Definitive Feasibility Study (“DFS”) by the end of 2019.
Keith D. Phillips, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “We continue to make good progress in several areas critical to our strategy, and remain on-track to begin construction in early-2020, consistent with the schedule we established in late-2017. As the only conventional lithium project in the USA, we have attracted considerable strategic interest and have engaged in initial conversations with parties in the lithium, mining, chemicals, battery, automotive, and private equity sectors. We plan to appoint financial and legal advisors in the coming weeks to assist in the evaluation of strategic and financial plans as we approach a construction decision.”
Continued Land Acquisition
The Company has recently increased its overall land position by 15% to 2,105 acres. The Company’s Core Property now comprises 1,004 acres, representing an 86% increase from the Core land position underlying the maiden Mineral Resource estimate.
PFS-Level Metallurgical Testwork Ongoing
Testwork evaluating Dense Medium Separation (“DMS”) technology remains ongoing at SGS. Preliminary DMS results indicate the potential to include DMS circuitry in the Piedmont concentrator’s design. Final results of DMS testwork are expected in May 2019 and locked-cycle flotation tests will also be performed. The results of the testwork program will be used to update the process design from the Scoping Study and to design a pilot program for later in 2019.
Resource Updates Expected in 2019
Piedmont’s Phase 4 drill campaign continues with three rigs actively drilling. The Company expects that Phase 4 drilling will result in an initial Mineral Resource estimate on the Company’s Central Property in April 2019 and an update to the Mineral Resource estimate on the Company’s Core Property in June/July 2019.
Technical Studies Underway
Marshall Miller has started mine design, sitewide civil design, and waste rock stockpile planning for the Project to support permit activities, Scoping Study update, and future Definitive Feasibility Study. These studies are expected to continue throughout 2019 with a planned completion by the end of 2019. Primero Group has commenced design engineering to a PFS-level of accuracy and is scheduled to complete a Scoping Study update in July 2019. The Scoping Study update will integrate updated Mineral Resources, latest metallurgical testwork, flowsheet optimization and updated costs.
Engineering work is proceeding at the PFS-level, but we are eliminating the interim Pre-Feasibility Study from our time-line as drilling is currently focused on resource and mine life expansion rather than the infill drilling required to declare reserves. Following our current drill campaign, we will complete additional infill drilling in advance of an anticipated year-end DFS.
Permitting Activities Proceeding as Anticipated
The public comment period for the Company’s Section 404 Standard Individual Permit application to the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) concluded in February 2019. Piedmont has received the comments from USACE and other regulatory agencies and will provide responses by May 31, 2019. Piedmont is also proceeding with state and local permit applications. The Company will undertake a series of community engagement meetings in the coming months and anticipates applying for a North Carolina state mining permit and Gaston County conditional zoning in Q3 2019.
The federal and state reviews are both proceeding as expected and the Company remains confident that the permitting processes will be successfully concluded by year-end 2019.
Strategic Discussions Initiated
Piedmont has been engaged in numerous preliminary off-take, financing and strategic conversations over the past several months. Interested parties are of a global nature, and include companies from the lithium, mining, chemicals, battery, automotive and private equity sectors. Piedmont expects to appoint financial and legal advisors in the coming weeks to assist in the evaluation of strategic and financing options, but we do not plan to report on such matters until there is more clarity on the ultimate outcome.
About Piedmont Lithium
Piedmont Lithium Limited (ASX: PLL; Nasdaq: PLL) holds a 100% interest in the Piedmont Lithium Project (“Project”) located within the world-class Carolina Tin-Spodumene Belt (“TSB”) and along trend to the Hallman Beam and Kings Mountain mines, historically providing most of the western world’s lithium between the 1950s and the 1980s. The TSB has been described as one of the largest lithium provinces in the world and is located approximately 25 miles west of Charlotte, North Carolina. It is a premier location for development of an integrated lithium business based on its favorable geology, proven metallurgy and easy access to infrastructure, power, R&D centers for lithium and battery storage, major high-tech population centers and downstream lithium processing facilities.