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Lithium developer Piedmont Lithium reported that the Gaston County Board of Commissioners, in North Carolina, had placed a 60-day moratorium on new approvals for mining and quarrying activities.

Piedmont is in the midst of a definitive feasibility study for its proposed lithium operation in the region, which is due for completion in the second half of this year.

The ASX and Nasdaq-listed miner told shareholders that the 60-day moratorium would allow the County to review its current industry regulations and their potential impact on future operations.

“We wholeheartedly agree that its important for the commissioners to have the time to review existing state and county regulations and how they may apply to plans for the Carolina lithium project,” said Piedmont CEO Keith Phillips.

“We note that counsel representing the county made clear in a statement during the special meeting that Gaston County supports economic growth and development, and that the resolution is not intended to stop mining, but rather to give the county time to perform their due diligence. We look forward to engaging with the commissioners and the broader community regarding our commitment to environmental stewardship and economic prosperity for the county as we work to advance the US supply chain for low-carbon economy.”

A previously completed prefeasibility study into the North Carolina lithium hydroxide plant estimated that some 22 720 t/y of lithium hydroxide could be produced over a project life of 25 years, at an average cost of production of $6 689/t.