Piedmont Lithium Ltd. has awarded the definitive feasibility study (DFS) of its planned spodumene concentrate (SC6) operations in North Carolina to a combined team including Primero Group and Marshall Miller & Associates. Marshall Miller will lead quarry design activities while Primero will advance the concentrator design, infrastructure design, and be responsible for overall study management.

The DFS will target production of 160,000 metric tons per year (mt/y) of SC6 as well as co-products including quartz and feldspar. The study will incorporate the results of the pilot level test work currently ongoing at SGS Canada. Piedmont expects to complete the DFS in mid-2021 and pursue an investment decision for the concentrate operations shortly thereafter.

Piedmont remains fully committed to development of an integrated lithium hydroxide business in North Carolina and a DFS of a planned lithium chemical plant will commence in Q1 2021.

“We are very pleased to be formally commissioning the definitive feasibility study for our concentrate operations, and to be working with industry leaders such as Primero and Marshall Miller,” Piedmont President and CEO Keith D. Phillips said. “We will launch the DFS for our chemical operations in Q1 2021 and will be positioned to begin construction in mid-2021, which should be ideal timing given the vast demand for lithium hydroxide we expect beginning in the 2022-2023 time period.”

Earlier in 2020, Piedmont and Primero entered into a memorandum of understanding to work together on an exclusive basis for project services including the DFS, EPC delivery, commissioning, ramp-up and contract operations of Piedmont’s spodumene concentrator.

Piedmont has engaged with Marshall Miller since 2018 to advance mine design, permitting activities, survey, geotechnical study, waste rock and tailings storage design, and other engineering support services.

In related news, Piedmont received an air quality permit from North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality to construct and operate its 22,700-mt/y lithium hydroxide plant, located in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. The company expect to apply for a North Carolina State Mining Permit and to complete the local rezoning processes for the integrated project in the first half of 2021.