Piedmont Lithium (ASX: PLL) has increased its North American lithium resources by 40% to 39.2 million tonnes at 1.09% lithium oxide.
The company declared this new mineral resource estimate comes at an “ideal time” given the increasing investment in the electrification of America.
Meanwhile, five rigs are continuing to work the Core prospect with exploration and infill drilling.
This latest mineral resource estimate will, the company says, underpin the scoping study updated due next month.
Piedmont holds a 100% interest in the Piedmont lithium project, which is part of the company’s vertically integrated business plans to ultimately produce 22,700t per annum of battery quality lithium hydroxide in North Carolina to support electric vehicle and battery supply chains in the United States and globally.
55% of resource in indicated category
The new estimate includes updated figures from the Central and Core targets on the project along with an initial mineral resource from the Huffstetler property.
Some 55% of the mineral resource estimate is currently classified in the indicated category.
The breakdown for the indicated resource 21.6Mt at 1.2% lithium oxide for 241,000t.
The inferred segment totals 17.6Mt at 1.03% lithium oxide for 181,000t.
Only spodumene resource in US
Piedmont president and chief executive officer Keith Phillips said the North Carolina resource establishes the company’s asset as one of the largest spodumene resources in North America — and the only one in the US.
“The expanded resource offers the potential for increased annual lithium production, something we will evaluate as we prepare our updated scoping study for release next month,” he added.
“All this is coming together at an ideal time, as the public and private sectors dramatically increase their investment in the electrification of America.
Mr Phillips said that, given the scope and strategic location of Piedmont’s project, the company believes it is ideally positioned to play a critical role in helping the US to build a clean energy economy and a US-based electric vehicle supply chain.
Tin-spodumene belt is 40km long
Piedmont estimates the Caroline tin-spodumene belt extends 40km along the boundary between the Piedmont and Kings Mountain belts.
So far, drilling has totalled 8,339m at the Core property, 2,722m at Central and 2,151m at Huffstetler.
With drilling continuing at Core, the company says addition holes may be completed at Huffstetler and Central.