The USACE completed an Environmental Assessment (EA) of the project in conjunction with six other state and federal agencies based on Piedmont’s December 2018 permit application and the company’s responses to agency and public comments.
The EA resulted in a Finding of No Significant Impact for the project. It is worth noting that the Section 404 Permit is the only federal permit required for the proposed mine and concentrator.
Water quality certification secured
Piedmont president and chief executive officer Keith D. Phillips said: “Securing a Section 404 Individual Permit is a major milestone for any natural resource project in the United States, and we are very pleased to have received this authorization.
“I want to thank our team members and advisors who have worked so diligently and cooperatively throughout this rigorous process, and also express our thanks to the Army Corps of Engineers for the highly professional manner in which they have approached this project from day one.”
Piedmont has also received a CWA Section 401 Individual Water Quality Certification from the North Carolina Division of Water Resources.
The 404 and 401 permit approvals were achieved on the company’s planned permit timeline originally announced in April 2018 and represent a major milestone in the development of the project.
Development activities to be accelerated
Piedmont will now accelerate development activities for the integrated lithium chemical business and the company expects to complete a preliminary feasibility study (PFS) for its lithium hydroxide plant in Q2 2020 and a definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the company’s integrated project by the end of 2020.
Phillips added: “We will now move forward with the permitting of our chemical plant operations during 2020.
“Our project is unique in being the only spodumene-to-hydroxide project in the United States, and now also stands out as the most advanced American lithium project from a permitting perspective.
“We are very excited about the important milestones ahead of us as we look to deliver a DFS for a fully permitted integrated project by the end of 2020.”