Lithium producers are hustling to establish production in North America, and that’s a positive thing. However, it’s not going to happen at Silicon Valley speed. The mining industry has its own complex product cycles, and its own terminology, complete with plenty of acronyms.
Piedmont Lithium’s joint venture partner, Sayona Mining, has released a definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the jointly-owned North American Lithium (NAL) project, and has increased its forecast for the amount of lithium mineral resources at its Moblan Lithium Project. Both projects are located in the province of Quebec.
The NAL DFS contemplates increased annual spodumene concentrate production averaging 190,000 metric tons per year (tpy) over a 20-year mine life. 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.
Sayona undertook a strategic review of mineral resources and ore reserves in order to focus on higher-grade, open-pit material. Based on the revised block model, certain indicated resources have been reclassified as inferred resources. The study contemplates a mine life of 20 years.
Piedmont has 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 has agreements with LG Chem and Tesla to provide spodumene 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, making it one of North America’s most significant spodumene ore bodies.
“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,” said Piedmont COO Patrick Brindle. “Production is ramping up at NAL, and we look forward to making initial shipments to our customers LG Chem and Tesla later in 2023. Quebec is an ideal location for lithium chemicals in the future, given the province’s abundant mineral resources, low-cost hydroelectricity, proximity to US markets and supportive provincial government.”
Source: Piedmont Lithium