In a significant development for the electric vehicle (EV) supply chain in the United States, Piedmont Lithium, a key player in the lithium resource sector, has confirmed the continuation and acceleration of production activities at North American Lithium (NAL), a joint venture with Sayona Mining. This move comes at a critical time when the demand for lithium, essential for EV batteries, is witnessing a steady upsurge.

Situated in Belmont, North Carolina, Piedmont Lithium, alongside Sayona Mining, has embarked on ramping up the production of spodumene concentrate, a primary source of lithium, at the NAL facility. Despite the volatile lithium market, the operation has shown promising progress. Since the commencement of production in March 2023, there have been notable improvements in process plant recoveries, surpassing the initial targets set by the company. Especially in March 2024, NAL achieved multiple daily production records, marking a notable milestone in throughput rates and maintaining product quality at a consistent grade.

An operational review conducted recently has led to the decision to push forward with significant capital project initiatives aimed at enhancing production capabilities and reducing operational costs. Among these projects, the completion of a crushed ore storage dome and a crushed ore re-feed system by May 2024 is expected to be a game-changer for the facility. These improvements are not only crucial for scaling up production but also for ensuring that the operations can shift towards more cost-efficient production methodologies as they advance into fresh ore zones by the end of 2024.

Keith Phillips, President and CEO of Piedmont Lithium, underscored the strategic importance of NAL in the company’s portfolio and its significant role in the North American market. The advancements at NAL are seen as pivotal for Piedmont Lithium’s aim to emerge as one of the largest lithium hydroxide producers in North America, directly contributing to the region’s clean energy and EV manufacturing capabilities.

The company’s broader vision includes an integrated lithium business that supports the transition to a net-zero world, emphasizing the shift towards clean energy economy in North America. In addition to the NAL joint venture, Piedmont Lithium’s portfolio extends to other significant projects across the United States and partnerships in Quebec with Sayona Mining and in Ghana with Atlantic Lithium.

As part of its growth strategy, Piedmont has also shared plans for the delivery of approximately 126,000 tonnes of spodumene concentrate throughout 2024, aiming to reduce its dependence on the fluctuating spot markets and strengthen its contractual customer base.

This development marks a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to secure a robust and sustainable lithium supply chain for the burgeoning EV market in the United States. With the collective expertise and resources of Piedmont Lithium and Sayona Mining, the ramped-up production at NAL is set to play a crucial role in empowering the clean energy transition that is underway across the globe.