Piedmont Lithium Inc. ("Piedmont" or the "Company") , a leading, diversified developer of lithium resources required to enable the U.S. electric vehicle supply chain, today announced that Piedmont's partner, Sayona Mining , recently published a prefeasibility study ("NAL PFS" or the "NAL Study") for the restart of spodumene concentrate operations at the North American Lithium Project in Quebec ("NAL"). The NAL PFS contemplates average annual production of approximately 168,000 tonnes per year of 6% spodumene concentrate over a mine life of 27 years. The NAL Study highlights estimated competitive cash operating costs and an estimated capital cost for the mine and concentrator restart of approximately US$80 million.
Piedmont and Sayona acquired the previously-producing NAL operations in August 2021. Following the positive results of the NAL Study, the partners expect to proceed with full capital expenditure authorization. According to Sayona's study results, operations could recommence in the first half of 2023.
Importantly, the NAL Study has identified a number of de-bottlenecking and process improvements within the spodumene concentrator which will improve operational availability, lithium recovery, and product quality. Process improvements include equipment upgrades in the crushing plant, additional crushed ore storage, expanded ore sorting, iron removal processing equipment, and upgrades to the flotation circuit and product dewatering processes. Operations are expected to be converted to dry-stacked tailings over time.
Piedmont owns a 25% project interest in the NAL and Authier Projects via its equity stake in Sayona Quebec as well as its equity interest of approximately 16.5% in Sayona Mining. With the publication of the NAL PFS, Piedmont will now begin to explore marketing options for its share of spodumene concentrate production contemplated in its offtake agreement with Sayona, which provides Piedmont with the right to purchase the greater of 50% of production or 113,000 metric tonnes per year from the NAL Project.
"The proposed restart of production at North American Lithium in the first half of 2023 represents the next step in helping Piedmont achieve its vision of becoming the leading lithium hydroxide producer in North America," said Piedmont COO, Patrick Brindle. Mr. Brindle added, "We are happy and excited for our partners. Sayona Quebec is one of the largest and best-located spodumene businesses in Canada and, as a past-producer with the bulk of plant and equipment in place, we believe is also the most advanced. Piedmont is committed to funding our share of the NAL restart capital, and we look forward to working with Sayona to formalize the full authorization of the NAL restart project in the coming weeks in order to achieve first production in the first half of 2023."
The statements in the link below were prepared by, and made by, Sayona. The following disclosures are not statements of Piedmont and have not been independently verified by Piedmont. Sayona is not subject to U.S. reporting requirements or obligations, and investors are cautioned not to put undue reliance on these statements. Sayona's original announcement can be found here.