North Carolina suspends mining because of Piedmont lithium plan project Reuters


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© Reuters. On July 16, 2021, Piedmont Lithium displayed a hat at its headquarters in Belmont, Gaston County, North Carolina, USA. REUTERS/Ernest Scheyder/Files

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Ernest Shedd

(Reuters)-A county in North Carolina imposed a 60-day mining ban on Friday, giving officials time to reformulate local regulations before Piedmont Lithium Inc filed the necessary zoning differences.

The commissioner of Gaston County in West Charlotte unanimously passed a resolution stating that the company “cannot be trusted if it does not have adequate local controls to protect the health, safety and welfare of citizens.”

The Piedmont representative could not be immediately reached for comment. The company’s shares fell 1.3% in after-hours trading.

If developed, the mine will become one of the largest sources of lithium for electric vehicle batteries in the United States. But officials worry that it may pollute the groundwater supply and cause problems such as light and noise pollution.

Piedmont said at an investment conference this week that it expects to receive state approval by the middle of 2022. County approval will be the next step.

Piedmont has stated that it intends to conduct multiple blasts per day-which is common in open pit mines. This raises concerns that the company may explode at night, which may affect approximately 500 households near the mining area.

“Obviously, a mine of this size… has never been foreseen in your development regulations,” Tom Terrell, a lawyer hired by the county commissioner, said at a 15-minute meeting on Friday, as he worked for Pierre. Project Monte provides advice.

Over the years, Piedmont has been vigorously promoting its mines to Wall Street, including hiring Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman to tell a nearly three-minute promotional video.

The company signed an agreement last fall to supply Tesla (NASDAQ:) Inc with lithium from North Carolina, which increased its stocks tenfold, although the timetable for starting the supply was indefinite earlier this week. put off.

However, Piedmont only contacted the county commissioner about its project last month. The delay strained the relationship with the six-member board.

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