Tag Archives: North Carolina

Piedmont Lithium enlists SGS Canada for pilot-scale spodumene work

Piedmont Lithium has agreed to partner with SGS Canada in Lakefield, Ontario, to complete a pilot-scale spodumene concentrator program at its namesake project in North Carolina, USA.

The company collected over 50 t of mineralised pegmatite from 17 locations across its core properties in February. These near-surface samples were from locations representing early, middle and late-stage planned production at the development.

Piedmont said the pilot plant design will be based on the results of prior test work programs and will be used to support both the definitive feasibility study (DFS) of the company’s planned concentrate operations, as well as detailed design engineering of full-scale operations.

The pilot program will target production of a large sample of spodumene concentrate with at least 6% Li2O and less than 1% Fe2O3 for use in future pilot-scale lithium hydroxide test work programs that Piedmont intends to complete as part of the DFS of its planned integrated lithium chemical plant. The tests will involve “dense medium and flotation” pilot work, Piedmont said.

The ASX-listed company said this test work is a “critical step in ensuring future commissioning and ramp-up success” at the project.

“Additionally, the bulk sample collected targeted a range of potential concentrator feed conditions, including low-grade zones and diluted feed,” the company said. “Testing variable conditions rather than an optimised feed will help inform engineering design and eliminate potential operational bottlenecks during the project design phase.”

Keith Phillips, President and Chief Executive Officer of Piedmont, said: “The program will enable Piedmont to complete future lithium hydroxide test work programs and also supply large sample of spodumene to our key customer, Tesla, for their own testing purposes.”

The prefeasibility study on the Piedmont lithium project, released earlier this year, envisaged two options – a “Merchant” project and an “Integrated” project. Both included an annual average lithium hydroxide production (steady-state) of 22,720 t, but only the latter included 160,000 t/y of 6% Li2O spodumene concentrate production over the 25-year mine life.

Piedmont locks in Primero for lithium concentrator development

Piedmont Lithium has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Primero Group that could see the Australia-based engineering firm deliver the planned spodumene concentrator at the Piedmont lithium project in North Carolina, USA.

Piedmont says it and Primero have partnered since early 2018, with Primero having been the lead engineering consultant for Piedmont’s scoping studies, concentrator design, and metallurgical test work management.

“Building on this strong relationship, Piedmont and Primero have entered into the MoU to work together on an exclusive basis to agree binding documentation relating to the definitive feasibility study (DFS), front-end engineering design, EPC (engineering procurement and construction) delivery, commissioning, ramp-up and contract operations of the spodumene concentrator,” Piedmont said.

Referencing previous work of Primero’s, Piedmont said the engineering firm’s EPC and contract operations services at Alliance Minerals’ Bald Hill mine, in Australia, notably achieved nameplate capacity within two months of plant commissioning.

Cameron Henry, Managing Director of Primero, commented: “Piedmont is a world-class project surrounded by infrastructure and ideally located near potential customers in the USA’s auto alley.

“We look forward to applying our specialist expertise in project implementation and operations to assist Piedmont in advancing the only spodumene project currently under development in the United States.”

Keith D Phillips, President and CEO of Piedmont, said the MoU represented a key milestone as the company builds out its project execution team, “with an emphasis on working with proven processes and experienced professionals”.

The EPC and operations contract models contemplated by the MOU provide incentives for Primero to achieve safety, schedule, budget, process performance, production, and recovery targets, Piedmont said.

“The arrangements contemplated by the MoU create a delivery framework which significantly reduces technical, operational and commercial risks associated with the concentrator,” it added.

“The company continues to evaluate other strategic partnerships that could enhance performance in the design, construction and operations of other aspects of Piedmont’s integrated lithium hydroxide business.”

The prefeasibility study on the Piedmont lithium project, released earlier this year, envisaged two options – a “Merchant” project and an “Integrated” project. Both included an annual average lithium hydroxide production (steady-state) of 22,720 t, but only the latter included 160,000 t/y of 6% Li2O spodumene concentrate production over the 25-year mine life.

Micromine modelling boosts Piedmont lithium project resource base

Piedmont Lithium has become the latest US-focused exploration company to use Micromine modelling to refine its mineral resource estimate – reporting a 47% increase in the process.

The company is on track to own the US’ largest spodumene orebody, located in the Carolina Tin-Spodumene Belt, in North Carolina, after increasing the mineral resource estimate to 27.9 Mt grading 1.11% Li2O, with further drilling to come, MICROMINE said.

The Piedmont lithium project is located along trend to the Hallman Beam and Kings Mountain mines, historically providing most of the western world’s lithium from the 1950s through the 1980s.

A scoping study on the project envisaged production of 22,700 t/y of lithium hydroxide over an initial 13-year mine life. This would involve a staged development to minimise up-front capital requirements and equity dilution, with stage 1 coming in at $109 million for the mine/concentrator and by-product circuits. Stage 2, for the chemical plant, would be funded largely by internal cash flow, the company said.

An estimated 74% of the mineral resource is located within 100 m of surface, while some 97% of the resource lies within 150 m of surface, according to MICROMINE. To date, drilling on the project’s 1,004 acre (406 ha) core property consists of 326 holes totaling 51,047 m, with the mineral resource estimate using all 326 holes. In general, drill spacing has ranged between 40 – 80 m, according to Piedmont.

Wireframe models of some 95 pegmatite dykes, a diabase dyke and one fault were created in Micromine by joining polygon interpretations made on cross sections and level plans spaced at 40 m. Weathering profiles, representing the base of saprolite and overburden, were modelled based on drill hole geological logging and a topographic digital terrain model was derived from a 2003 survey, MICROMINE said.

Micromine is an exploration and mine design solution offering integrated tools for modelling, estimation, design, optimisation and scheduling. It provides users with an in-depth understanding of their projects, so prospective regions can be targeted more accurately, increasing the chance of success, MICROMINE says.

The latest version of MICROMINE’s exploration and mine design solution, Micromine 2018, comprises 10 modules. “As a scalable and flexible solution, Micromine 2018 provides you with the flexibility to choose the functionality you need when you need it. Additionally, the application’s new 64-bit support means that you can work with more data than ever before,” the company said.

Micromine’s wireframing module enables very accurate models to be created that can be further analysed and interpreted to produce a precise estimation that aligns with industry codes of practice and standards, the company said.

Piedmont Lithium expects to complete its prefeasibility level metallurgical test work program, followed by a scoping study update, this month, MICROMINE reported.