Less than four months after submitting an application to US environmental authorities, Piedmont Lithium (ASX: PLL) has been issued a permit to construct and operate a planned 22,700 tonnes per year lithium hydroxide chemical plant at Kings Mountain in North Carolina.
The company was today granted an air permit from the Division of Air Quality within North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality which defines acceptable limits for the construction and operation of emission sources as well as the construction and operation of air cleaning equipment to be used at the planned facility.
The department issued the permit following a detailed review of Piedmont’s application submitted in September.
The application was originally expected to take up to two years to be approved.
Piedmont president and chief executive officer Keith D Phillips said the permit represents a significant milestone in the development of the company’s proposed integrated lithium-hydroxide business.
“We are very pleased to have received this authorisation,” he said.
“Ours is the only spodumene-to-hydroxide project in the US and together with a previously received federal permit for our concentrate operations, it also stands out as the most advanced American lithium project.”
Piedmont is now the only greenfields lithium project in the US to have gained all of the federally-regulated approvals required for construction.
Yesterday, Piedmont announced it had started definitive feasibility study work on a spodumene concentrator plant as part of its integrated lithium-hydroxide business.
The study will evaluate the production of 160,000tpa of spodumene concentrate as well as co-products including quartz and feldspar and is due for release by June next year.
Piedmont also expects to apply for a North Carolina state mining permit and to complete local re-zoning processes for the operation in the first half of the new year.
“Our team members and advisors have worked so diligently throughout this rigorous process, and we thank the North Carolina [authorities] for the highly professional manner in which they have approached our project from day one,” Mr Phillips said.
“We are very excited about the important milestones ahead as we look to deliver a definitive feasibility study next year.”