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Piedmont wins DoE grant for Tennessee project

Thursday, October 20th, 2022

Lithium developer Piedmont has been selected for a $141.7-million grant from the US Department of Energy (DoE) to support the construction of its $600-million Tennessee lithium project.

The grant was one of the first received under the US government’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to expand critical minerals capabilities in the US.

Piedmont’s 30 000 t/y Tennessee lithium hydroxide project is expected to start production in 2025, and will convert spodumene concentrate sourced from Piedmont’s global project into lithium hydroxide to supply the US electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing industry.

The Tennessee lithium hydroxide plant will complement Piedmont’s planned Carolina lithium operation and will bring its US-based production capacity to 60 000 t/y by 2026. Construction at the Tennessee Lithium project is slated to begin in 2023, subject to permitting and project financing timelines.

Piedmont president and CEO Keith Phillips said the company is honored that the Tennessee lithium project has been selected for this DoE funding.

“The US government is putting investment dollars behind its policies to support energy independence and national security, and we are grateful to be selected to help spur critical, domestic development of the EV battery supply chain,” said Phillips.

“Over 80% of lithium hydroxide production today occurs in China. This grant will accelerate the development of the Tennessee lithium project as a world-class lithium hydroxide operation, which is expected to more than double the domestic production of battery-grade lithium hydroxide in the US.”

The Tennessee lithium project is expected to drive significant economic activity in McMinn County and create approximately 120 new, direct jobs. 

“We are pleased that the DoE has chosen to support our Tennessee lithium project, and we are committed to being responsible stewards of these grant funds,” said Piedmont COO Patrick Brindle.

“This funding will enable us to accelerate detailed engineering and place orders for long-lead items.”

As part of the company’s selection for the DoE funding, Piedmont has been invited to negotiate the specific terms of the grant, including timing and any co-funding. The final details of the project grant are subject to these negotiations. The grant will not be final until Piedmont and the DoE have agreed to the specific terms of the grant. Once the terms have been finalised, funding of the grant will remain subject to satisfaction from time to time of conditions precedent set forth in those terms. 

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