Piedmont Lithium strikes sales deal with Tesla
Piedmont Lithium Limited has struck a sales agreement with Tesla to supply spodumene concentrate (SC6) from Piedmont’s North Carolina deposit.
The Agreement is for an initial five-year term on a fixed-price binding purchase commitment from the delivery of first product, and may be extended by mutual agreement for a second five-year term, and follows the electric vehicle maker's announcement last week that it plans to mine its own lithium for EV batteries as it seeks to ramp up production at its Nevada Gigafactory.
The deal covers a fixed commitment for approximately one-third of Piedmont’s planned SC6 production of 160,000 tonnes per annum for the initial term as well as an additional quantity to be delivered at Tesla’s option. SC6 sales are expected to generate between 10-20 percent of Piedmont’s total revenues from its proposed integrated mine-to-hydroxide project for the term. The Agreement is conditional upon Tesla and Piedmont agreeing to a start date for spodumene concentrate deliveries between July 2022 and July 2023 based on the development schedules of both parties.
Keith D. Phillips, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “We are excited to be working with Tesla, which represents the start of the first US domestic lithium supply chain and a disruption to the current value chain. The Agreement highlights the strategic importance of Piedmont’s unique American spodumene deposit and confirms the trend toward spodumene as the preferred feedstock for the lithium hydroxide required in high-nickel batteries.
Piedmont plans to extract lithium from mineral deposits in Gaston County, 25 miles west of Charlotte, in what geologists call the 'Carolina Tin-Spodumene Belt'.
“We will now accelerate our mine/concentrator development to support Tesla’s plans, work to further expand our mineral resources, and potentially increase our planned annual spodumene concentrate production capacity. We will simultaneously be advancing our plans to produce lithium hydroxide in North Carolina, using a combination of internally produced spodumene concentrate as well as material sourced from other producers around the world.”
Piedmont confirms that all material assumptions underpinning the results of its previously announced integrated scoping study continue to apply and have not materially changed, including Benchmark Mineral Intelligence pricing and tonnes per annum assumptions.
Unmanned train to allow Vale to reopen iron ore plant
Brazilian miner Vale SA will be able to resume operations at its Timbopeba iron ore dry processing plant in up to two months thanks to the use of an unmanned train, the company said in a statement this week.
Vale - Timbopeba iro ore plant
With the train, Timbopeba will be able to operate at least at 80% of its capacity of 33,000 tonnes of iron ore “fines” per day, reports Reuters.
Vale was forced to shut down the plant in the Alegria mine complex recently after labor authorities in Minas Gerais state banned activities close to the Xingu dam due to concerns of a risk of collapse.
Vale said access by workers and vehicles continues to be suspended in the flood zone of the dam due to the ban even though it remains at emergency level 2, which means there no imminent risk of rupture.
But some workers are allowed entry under strict security precautions and they will get the unmanned train going once it has been tested, which would take between one and two months, the company said.
The unmanned train will travel automatically along 16 kilometers (10 miles) of track operated by a system that can control the speed and activate the brakes, Vale said.
Vale announces first ore at Voisey’s Bay mine extension
Vale has reached the milestone of first ore production at the Reid Brook deposit at the Voisey’s Bay mine expansion project in Northern Labrador, Canada - recognised as the safest mine in Canada.