Spodumene concentrate production expected to restart in first half of 2023
BELMONT, N.C., June 28, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Piedmont Lithium ("Piedmont") (Nasdaq: PLL; ASX: PLL), a leading, diversified developer of lithium resources critical to the U.S. electric vehicle supply chain, today announced that the board of directors of Sayona Quebec Inc. ("SYQ"), which is owned 75% by Sayona Mining ("Sayona") and 25% by Piedmont, authorized the restart of spodumene concentrate production at its North American Lithium ("NAL") project located near Val-d’Or, Quebec. The NAL restart will feature significant operational upgrades totaling approximately $80 million aimed at improving product quality and plant utilization. Long-lead equipment was ordered and detailed design engineering commenced in late 2021 based on our jointly planned timeline. Operations at NAL are expected to commence in the first half of 2023. The NAL restart project will be entirely funded from pro-rata cash contributions by Sayona and Piedmont, with each party having completed significant capital raises in the first half of 2022.
"We are excited to take this essential next step toward supplying much-needed North American lithium resources," said Keith Phillips, President and Chief Executive Officer of Piedmont Lithium. "Authorizing the restart of the NAL project is consistent with our plan to become a revenue generating company in 2023 and contributes to our strategic goal of becoming a leading North American lithium producer through our integrated portfolio of lithium projects."
Piedmont and Sayona confirmed the terms of the spodumene concentrate offtake agreement between SYQ and Piedmont. Under the offtake agreement, Piedmont is entitled to purchase the greater of 113,000 metric tons per year of spodumene concentrate or 50% of production from the NAL project. The agreement also covers concentrate produced from ore mined at SYQ’s Authier Project. Purchases are subject to market pricing with a price floor of $500 per metric ton and a price ceiling of $900 per metric ton.
Under the terms of the offtake agreement, if Sayona and Piedmont jointly construct and operate a lithium conversion plant in Quebec, then spodumene concentrate produced from the NAL project would be preferentially delivered to that chemical plant upon start of operations. Any remaining concentrate not delivered to a jointly owned conversion plant would first be delivered to Piedmont up to Piedmont’s offtake right and then to third parties. Sayona and Piedmont expect to begin a series of technical studies with respect to lithium conversion in Quebec and will update the market in the coming months.
"This is a fresh start for NAL. The planned capital upgrades will have a positive impact on both product quality as well as reduced operating costs achieved through improved plant utilization and higher spodumene recoveries," said Phillips. "We also look forward to the commencement of technical studies for lithium chemical production in the province of Quebec, which is an ideal location for future lithium hydroxide production given the province’s abundant mineral resources, low-cost hydroelectricity, and supportive provincial government."
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About Piedmont Lithium
Piedmont Lithium (Nasdaq: PLL; ASX: PLL) is developing a world-class, multi-asset, integrated lithium business focused on enabling the transition to a net zero world and the creation of a clean energy economy in North America. Our goal is to become one of the largest lithium hydroxide producers in North America by processing spodumene concentrate produced from assets where we hold an economic interest. Our projects include our wholly-owned Carolina Lithium and LHP-2 Projects in the United States and partnerships in Quebec with Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA) and in Ghana with Atlantic Lithium (AIM:ALL). These geographically diversified operations will enable us to play a pivotal role in supporting America’s move toward decarbonization and the electrification of transportation and energy storage. For more information, visit www.piedmontlithium.com.
Summary of Offtake Agreement Terms
Piedmont Lithium Carolinas, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Piedmont, or an affiliated company
Sayona Quebec Inc.
Spodumene concentrate containing 6.0% Li2O grade (dry basis)
113,000 dry metric tons ("dmt") per year or 50% of production, whichever is greater
Life-of-mine of the North American Lithium and Authier Projects
Market pricing (based on an average price for CIF China Price (US$) for 6.0% SC6 dry basis) with a minimum price of US$500/t and a maximum price of US$900/t on a DAP North Carolina basis
If Sayona and Piedmont agree to jointly develop and operate a lithium chemical plant, including a restart of the lithium carbonate plant at North American Lithium or another lithium chemical plant at a different location, then the partners agree that the order of priority for production volume of spodumene concentrate from North American Lithium will be:
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