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Piedmont Lithium expands resources after completion of Phase 5 drilling

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Piedmont Lithium Inc. (Nasdaq: PLL) has provided an updated mineral resource estimate for its flagship Carolina Lithium project in North Carolina, USA, following the completion of Phase 5 infill drilling. This includes updates for lithium and industrial mineral products.

Total resource estimate for the project now comes to 44.2 Mt at 1.08% Li2O, of which 64% is classified in the indicated category. The updated indicated resources represents a 100% increase relative to that previously reported under Australian standards.

“We are very pleased to have concluded our Phase 5 drill campaign and to further expand our world-class resource base. Carolina Lithium has one of the largest spodumene resources in North America, and the only one located in the United States,” Keith D. Phillips, President and CEO, commented in a news release.

The company is currently working towards a definitive feasibility study for Carolina Lithium, which it plans to publish later this year.

Piedmont’s resource update comes a day after reports came out that the company is facing two federal lawsuits from shareholders for allegedly misleading them on the proposed lithium mine, which is supposed to be supplying high-purity battery mineral to EV maker Tesla, starting some time between July 2022 and July 2023, over a 10-year period.

However, the supply timeline was postponed earlier this year with no definitive date of first shipment given, as North Carolina communities and officials continue to voice concerns over the project.

While Piedmont had previously stated that it is “optimistic” of obtaining state regulatory approval for the North Carolina lithium project and have it fully funded by mid-2022, the county in which the project is located has since modified several mining-related standards to its zoning regulations, which may affect the project.

A local report by WCNC in Charlotte revealed that one of the lawsuits alleged the company’s past statements “failed to disclose that Piedmont lacked local support” for its lithium project, and that it “failed to file proper applications for permits with the relevant governmental authorities.”

In the lawsuits, the plaintiffs are asking Piedmont to pay back the money they lost after the company’s stock price fell.

Shares of Piedmont Lithium declined by 4.7% by 12:30 p.m. EDT in New York.

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