Piedmont Lithium Ltd, an Australia-based mineral exploration company, has reportedly acquired a site for the development of a lithium chemical plant. The acquisition of the 60.6-acre site which is located in the Kings Mountain is an important step for the development of the vertically integrated Piedmont Lithium Project.
The site has been selected as an ideal potential location as it is a 20-mile truck haul from Piedmont’s spodumene mine and concentrator, a convenient distance which will minimize the company’s freight cost for delivery to the proposed facility.
Keith Phillips, CEO, Piedmont, reportedly said that Piedmont’s focus is to build an integrated lithium chemical operation in North Carolina and the site has served as an integral part to fulfil that plan. He added that the site is of the proper scale to fit Piedmont’s contemplated downstream operations, offers favorable infrastructure required for such a facility and is within convenient driving distance from the mining and concentration properties.
The plant is intended to convert spodumene concentrate to lithium chemicals. The conversion will mainly focus on the production of battery-grade lithium hydroxide. Recent studies show that spodumene sourced lithium hydroxide has a competitive price advantage over lithium hydroxide sourced from brine.
The chosen plant site is located in the heavy industrial zone, has direct access to US Highway 29, Interstate I-85 and Norfolk Southern rail line. The property can also have easy access to the adjacent gas and power transmission. Piedmont Lithium will be completing a scoping study in the current quarter and the plant will be included in the scoping study.
The Carolina Tin-Spodumene Belt (TSB) along with the King Mountain and Hallman Bean mines are some of the world’s richest lithium mines and have provided most of the lithium in the western world between 1950s and 1980s. A number of factors such as proven metallurgy, favorable geology, access to infrastructure and research and development centers for lithium makes it a premier location for the development of an integrated lithium business.