North American lithium producer Sayona Mining Ltd. and Piedmont Lithium Inc. announced the successful restart of commercial spodumene concentrate production at the jointly-owned North American Lithium (NAL) project in Quebec. The $80 million restart of NAL was completed on time and on budget and is the only major source of new spodumene production expected in North America in the next two years. Sayona is targeting 226,000 metric tons per year (mt/y) of production with first commercial shipments expected in Q3 2023.

Sayona’s Managing Director Brett Lynch commented on the efficient recommencement of NAL. “Since announcing our restart intentions in 2021, our project team has maintained a forward-looking focus to improve lithium capture, achieve more consistent runtimes, and streamline operating costs from the past-producing operation,” Lynch said. “Improvements were made as planned in our timeline and budget, and we are eager to see the impact the upgrades bring to both product quality and operational efficiency as we prepare for our first commercial shipments of spodumene concentrate expected in July of this year.”

NAL is one of three projects of Sayona Quebec, a joint venture between Sayona (75%) and Piedmont (25%). Sayona is targeting four shipments from NAL totaling up to 120,000 mt by the end of 2023, which are expected to supply key battery and electric vehicle manufacturers, including LG Chem and Tesla.

“We applaud the work of the operating team in bringing the restart of NAL to fruition,” Piedmont’s President and CEO Keith Phillips said. “This marks an exciting milestone not only for Piedmont Lithium and Sayona Mining, but the North American market for which we are working to supply critical lithium resources. NAL is positioned to be a key contributor to the electric vehicle and battery supply chains as demand for lithium continues to rapidly expand along with the electrification economies in both Canada and the U.S.”

Powered by renewable hydroelectricity, NAL is ideally located in the Abitibi region of Quebec with convenient access to rail, highway, and port infrastructure to bring lithium concentrate to the market.