Year-to-date gain: 23.19 percent; Market Cap: $1.01 billion; current share price: $52.75

Headquartered in the US state of North Carolina, Piedmont Lithium focuses on the production of lithium hydroxide to provide companies with a source outside of China. To do so, Piedmont is advancing its fully integrated Carolina lithium project in North Carolina and is planning the largest lithium hydroxide plant in the US, which will be in Tennessee. The company received a $141.7 million grant for the US government plant last year.

Piedmont also has interests outside the US In Quebec, Canada, Piedmont has a 25 percent interest in the Sayona Quebec joint venture with Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA,OTCQB:SYAXF). The two companies successfully restarted spodumene production at the Sayona Quebec North American Lithium (NAL) project in March. In Ghana, Piedmont has an agreement for up to a 50 percent interest in Atlantic Lithium’s (ASX:A11,LSE:ALL,OTC Pink:ALLIF) lithium portfolio, including its flagship Ewoyaa project, which Piedmont plans to use to partially feed your Tennessee plant.

In mid-February, Piedmont announced that LG Chem (KRX:051910) was investing $75 million in Piedmont, and that the battery maker had signed a four-year contract purchase agreement for a total of 200,000 MT of spodumene from the NAL project; will be used to create cathode materials that comply with the US Inflation Reduction Act Piedmont stock price hit a year-to-date high of $73.46 on the news before dipping back down in the following weeks.

In early March, Piedmont’s stock price was affected by a short sale report written by Blue Orca. Piedmont invested in Atlantic Lithium in 2021 and blue killer whale claims that some of that company’s licenses were obtained “by making secret payments… (to) the family of a high-ranking Ghanaian politician.” licenses for Ewoyaa, which would affect plans for the Tennessee plant.

Atlantic firmly denied the accusations and said that the specific licenses are not part of its mining license application for Ewoyaa. On top of this, piedmont declared that even without Ewoyaa’s supply, it will be able to secure supply elsewhere from companies seeking to participate in the US supply chain.

Piedmont’s stock price rose again on the March 30 news that Piedmont and Sayona successfully restarted spodumene production in the NAL project. According to the statement, NAL is “the only significant source of new spodumene production expected in North America in the next two years.” The operation is expected to produce 226,000 MT per year and will begin commercial shipments in the third quarter.

In April, the company presented its feasibility study for Tennessee plant, which will produce 30,000 MT of lithium hydroxide per year. Construction of the plant is expected to begin in 2024. The estimated economics from the study show an after-tax net present value of $2.5 billion at a discount of 8 percent and an after-tax internal rate of return of 32 percent.

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