Sayona Mining and Piedmont Lithium get final permit to restart NAL operation
Sayona Mining (ASX: SYA) and joint venture partner Piedmont Lithium (ASX: PLL) have locked-in the final permit required to restart the North American Lithium (NAL) mine and concentrator in Quebec, with first spodumene production expected early next year.
Sayona owns 75% of NAL via joint venture subsidiary Sayona Quebec, while Piedmont holds the remaining 25% plus a 15% stake in Sayona.
According to the joint venture parties, the final permit was among more than 130 approvals required to resume mining and processing at NAL from provincial and federal authorities.
Sayona Quebec chief executive officer Guy Laliberte said the company has worked to quickly restart the NAL complex since acquiring it in August 2021.
“Global demand for lithium is increasing weekly and it is essential that NAL goes into production to help satisfy this demand,” he added.
Since the NAL complex was acquired, the equipment and facilities have been optimised.
Construction activities have ramped up at the site, with procurement 98% complete.
The mining contractor L. Fournier & Fils was mobilised to site and began operations in October.
First spodumene concentrate is expected from NAL in the first quarter of next year.
Initial output will comprise about 220,000 tonnes a year of 6% spodumene concentrate – equating to about 30,000tpa of lithium carbonate equivalent.
Lithium carbonate pre-feasibility study
A pre-feasibility study into producing lithium carbonate or hydroxide from NAL spodumene was launched in October.
Hatch is completing the study, which is expected to be completed in March.
Mr Lynch said the study will provide “valuable intelligence” on future planned downstream processing.
He said moving downstream has always been the plan to “enable a significant increase in profitability”.
As well its joint venture with Sayona, Piedmont also plans to generate its own spodumene and lithium hydroxide products from its own Carolina and Tennessee projects in the United States.
At Tennessee, Piedmont plans to produce 30,000tpa of lithium hydroxide at a plant in Etowah. A preliminary economic assessment gave the project a $2.2 billion after tax net present value and is expected to be the largest lithium hydroxide plant in the US.
Over in North Carolina, Piedmont is developing an integrated mining and lithium hydroxide operation. The company plans to produce 30,000tpa of lithium hydroxide at Carolina and the project has a net present value (NPV) of $2.8 billion.
Piedmont is also earning a 50% interest in Atlantic Lithium’s Ghana lithium portfolio, including the flagship Ewoyaa project.