Piedmont Lithium Inc. (“Piedmont” or the “Company”), a leading global developer of lithium resources, today announced that the Company’s joint venture partner, Sayona Mining (“Sayona”), has released a definitive feasibility study (“DFS”) for the jointly-owned North American Lithium (“NAL”) project, and increased lithium mineral resources at its 60%-owned Moblan Lithium Project (“Moblan”), both in the province of Quebec. Piedmont holds a 25% stake in NAL and an equity interest of approximately 14% in Sayona. Sayona completed the technical studies for NAL and Moblan in accordance with both JORC Code and NI 43-101 requirements.
The NAL DFS contemplates increased annual spodumene concentrate production averaging 190,000 metric tons per year (“tpy”) over a 20-year mine life, with a target of 226,000 tpy in years one through four of steady state operations and approximately 186,000 tpy beginning in year five. The revised production targets, combined with higher spodumene concentrate pricing, resulted in an increase to the net present value for the NAL project compared to the prefeasibility study completed in 2022.
As part of the DFS and mine restart efforts, Sayona undertook a strategic review of mineral resources and ore reserves to create opportunities to focus on higher-grade, open-pit material and to improve project net present value. The revised block model has resulted in a reduction in ore reserves and certain Indicated Resources have been reclassified as Inferred Resources based on new model interpretation. The study contemplates a mine life of 20 years, reduced from the prefeasibility study estimate of 27 years, through the elimination of underground mining.
NAL is one of the projects of Sayona Quebec, a joint venture between Sayona (75%) and Piedmont (25%). Piedmont holds an offtake agreement with Sayona Quebec to purchase the greater of 113,000 tpy or 50% of the joint venture’s spodumene concentrate production. Piedmont subsequently has agreements with LG Chem and Tesla to provide spodumene concentrate from NAL beginning in H2 2023. Sayona Quebec is undertaking a prefeasibility study to explore downstream production at NAL and expects results in Q2 2023.
Separately, Sayona has announced a significant increase in mineral resources at its 60%-owned Moblan project in northern Quebec. Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources at Moblan now total 41.1 million metric tons @ 1.32% Li2O using a 0.55% Li2O cut-off grade, making Moblan one of North America’s most significant spodumene ore bodies.
Piedmont’s Chief Operating Officer Patrick Brindle said, “The results of the DFS underscore NAL’s role as a significant lithium producer positioned to meet the requirements of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. Production is ramping up at NAL, and we look forward to making initial shipments to our customers LG Chem and Tesla later in 2023. Further, we congratulate our partners at Sayona on the significant mineral resource expansion at their 60%-owned Moblan project. We are very pleased with our positions as Sayona’s joint venture partner in the Abitibi Hub lithium projects and as Sayona Mining’s largest shareholder. Quebec is an ideal location for lithium chemicals in the future, given the province’s abundant mineral resources, low-cost hydroelectricity, proximity to U.S. markets, and supportive provincial government.”