As part of their plan to create a possible lithium production hub in the Abitibi region of Quebec, Australia’s Piedmont Lithium (ASX: PLL) and its 19%-owned Sayona Mining (ASX: SYA) have completed the acquisition of Canada’s North American Lithium. (NAL)
The companies said they will be merging Sayona’s Authier and Tansim projects in Quebec and NAL, which stopped production at its mine in 2019. “They noted that technical studies for the future restart of NAL’s spodumene concentrate operations were underway.”
The companies have also introduced studies for the manufacturing of lithium chemicals in Quebec, which could result in the province being a “key lithium hydroxide production centre,” especially with how much they stand behind the green movement and the proximity to major US and European electric vehicle (EV) markets.
Keith D. Phillips, President and Chief Executive Officer of Piedmont Lithium commented:
“We are very pleased to have partnered with Sayona in the consolidation of the spodumene resources in the Abitibi region of Québec, with Sayona Québec now comprising a large Canadian lithium resource base.”
“Importantly, North American Lithium is a past-producing business with $400mm of investment over the past decade. NAL’s concentrate operations are amenable to a relatively rapid restart and we will work with Sayona to develop suitable plans in that regard.”
The move to kick off these lithium studies comes after a $45 million placement and $20 million share purchase plan, both of which were heavily oversubscribed. 80% of the world’s EV batteries are currently produced in Japan, South Korea, and China.
Phillips continued saying “We are also evaluating a variety of options for production of lithium hydroxide in Québec and will update the market further as our plans crystallize.”
The acquisition also comes after a report suggesting that Canada has a ““once-in-generation” opportunity to establish itself as a major player in the global battery sector.”
“The timing is perfect, and we look forward to realizing this opportunity, working closely with our partner, Piedmont and all other key stakeholders, including Investissement Québec, as we help drive Québec’s clean energy future,” Sayona Mining managing director, Brett Lynch, said in the statement.
Piedmont Lithium is also currently developing its eponymous lithium project in North Carolina, which is set to become one of the largest sources of EV batteries’ raw material.
“Piedmont intends to become North America’s leading lithium hydroxide producer and our Québec investments are an ideal complement to our flagship Carolina Lithium Project in Gaston County, North Carolina,” Phillips concluded.
However, earlier this month plans were set back and the company had to slow down production because the state had issued a 60-day moratorium on new approvals for mining and quarrying activities.