Piedmont Lithium (ASX: PLL) has debuted a maiden resource of 16.19 million tonnes at 1.12% lithium oxide for its Core property at its wholly owned Piedmont lithium project in the US state of North Carolina.
The JORC 2012-compliant mineral resource featured 182,000t of contained lithium or 450,000t of contained lithium carbonate equivalent and was prepared by independent consultants CSA Global.
Piedmont’s maiden resource featured 8.5Mt of indicated resources grading 1.15% lithium for a contained 98,000t of lithium or 242,000t of lithium carbonate equivalent.
The inferred mineral resource was 7.7Mt at 1.09% lithium for a contained 84,000t of lithium or 208,000t of lithium carbonate equivalent.
New York-based Piedmont’s Core property is 5km from the historic Hallman-Beam mine and in the Carolina tin-spodumene belt about 40km west of Charlotte.
FMC Corporation previously operated the Hallman-Beam mine, which still runs lithium processing facilities in the belt, which was vital to global lithium production in the 1950s to 1980s.
The explorer claims its maiden resource is the area’s first to be completed in more than three decades.
Piedmont president and chief executive officer Keith Phillips said the maiden resource had “surpassed” the company’s initial exploration target and represented an “important milestone”.
“The resource will underpin the upcoming scoping study, which we believe will reflect the significant advantages associated with our unique location,” he said.
“There are many interesting lithium projects being advanced around the world, but Piedmont has the only project based in the industrial heartland of the US and the cradle of lithium production.”
The Core property spans 214.48h where Piedmont drilled 37,837m across 248 holes. The resource statement only uses 231 holes for its estimate, or 35,313m, with assays still pending for 15 of the 17 holes not included in the estimate.
Piedmont is focused on completing its scoping study, which is planned to finish in the September 2018 quarter.
The company has set a new exploration target of 4.5Mt to 5.5Mt grading between 1.1% and 1.2% lithium for Core.
Piedmont’s securities were up 8.33% to A$0.195 by mid-morning.