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After 7 years, NC's Piedmont Lithium sees its first revenues

The AAL Moon carries the first shipment from Sayona Quebec's North American Lithium mine in Quebec. The shipment means  North Carolina-based Piedmont Lithium will earn its first revenues since it started seven years ago.
Piedmont Lithium
The AAL Moon begins loading the first shipment from Sayona Quebec's North American Lithium mine in Quebec. The shipment means North Carolina-based Piedmont Lithium will earn its first revenues since it started seven years ago.

North Carolina-based Piedmont Lithium says it expects to record its first revenues this month, after seven years of planning and investments — and that the money will help continue its development of a mine in Gaston County and other projects. That's because of a lithium mining partnership in Quebec that sent its first shipment Tuesday.

Piedmont Lithium, headquartered in Belmont, said the Sayona Quebec mine shipped 20,500 metric tons of lithium-containing spodumene concentrate from the Port of Quebec to unnamed international customers.

The mining and processing company plans to sell lithium for electric-vehicle batteries, which are in high demand as sales of electric vehicles grow.

“For the last seven years, Piedmont Lithium has focused on developing a supply of crucial lithium resources, and we are excited to begin generating revenue and cash flow as we see our plans come to fruition,” Piedmont CEO Keith Phillips said in a statement. “Our products will help our customers meet the requirements of the Inflation Reduction Act and, in turn, the growing demands of the U.S. electric vehicle and battery supply chains.”

Piedmont did not say how much it will earn from the initial shipments.

Sayona Quebec is a joint venture owned 25% by Piedmont and 75% by Sayona Mining. Piedmont also owns rights to a portion of the Quebec mine's production. Piedmont said in a press release that the mine's next two shipments will be to two Piedmont customers, one the Korean chemical company LG Chem and the other to an unnamed international trading company.

Piedmont said it will use revenues to continue development of its planned lithium mine in northern Gaston County, a processing facility in Tennessee and a mine in Ghana.

The company is still waiting for a state mining permit and local zoning approval for the planned 1,500-acre mine in Gaston County. In May, officials said the mine may not begin production until 2027.

Piedmont also announced last week that it had received a key air-quality permit that will allow the start of construction of the $800 million processing plant in McMinn County, Tennessee.

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Corrected: August 7, 2023 at 10:29 AM EDT
This story has been updated to clarify that future shipments from Quebec will go to an unnamed international trading company and to the Korean chemical company LG Chem.
David Boraks previously covered climate change and the environment for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.