Piedmont Lithium signals potential resource upgrade in Québec

Canada-focused explorer Piedmont Lithium (ASX:PLL) believes there is potential for a near-term resource upgrade and possible extension to the life of the North American Lithium operation in Québec.

North American Lithium is jointly owned 25% by Piedmont and 75% by Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA). 

Sayona earlier this week (13 May) revealed the results of a 26,605m, 91-hole drilling campaign that returned ‘high-grade lithium mineralisation from new zones. 

Drilling extended mineralisation to the northwest, northeast, southeast, and below the existing resource of 58.3 million tonnes @ 1.23% for 714,200 contained tonnes of lithium.

Top drill results included 32.88m @ 1.72% lithium from 269.62m in a new pegmatite now known as the North-West Extension, and 47.5m @ 1.29% lithium from 402.85m, which could potentially lead to additional resources or conversion of inferred resources to the higher confidence measured and indicated categories. 

The current proved and probable reserve for the North American Lithium (NAL) mine is 21.7 million tonnes @ 1.08% for 235,500 contained tonnes of lithium. 

Piedmont President and CEO Keith Phillips says the company believes the results underscore the long-term potential of the NAL operation.

“NAL is the largest lithium operation in North America, and ramp-up is nearing completion,” he says.

“as an operating mine producing IRA-compliant spodumene concentrate, NAL is highly strategic and the possibility of an extension to the mine life and/or an increase in annual production is very exciting.”

The mine was restarted in March last year and comprises 19 contiguous claims and one mining lease in Québec’s Abitibi-Témiscamingue region. The project sits 60km north of the city of Val d’Or.

The existing plant has nameplate capacity to produce up to 220,000 tonnes of spodumene concentrate or 30,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent each year.

The existing life of the mine, according to a 2023 Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS), is 20 years.

Piedmont, which has a market capitalisation of $435.8 million, has an offtake agreement in place that allows it to buy the greater of 113,000 tonnes each year of spodumene concentrate or 50% of production from NAL.

This agreement will remain in place until the start of operation of a lithium conversion plant in Québec. 

Write to Angela East at Mining.com.au 

Images: Piedmont Lithium
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Written By Angela East
Managing Editor Angela East is an experienced business journalist and editor with over 15 years spent covering the resources and construction sectors and more recently working as a communications specialist handling media relations for junior resources companies.