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Piedmont Lithium's deal with Tesla is still on — with revisions

101222 Piedmont Lithium HQ.jpg
David Boraks
/
WFAE
Piedmont Lithium's headquarters in Belmont. The company plans a mine in northern Gaston County and also has stakes in mines in Quebec and Ghana.

Piedmont Lithium says it has amended a previously announced contract with electric vehicle maker Tesla to supply lithium beginning later this year.

The Belmont-based mining company is still waiting for approvals for a planned mining and processing operation in Gaston County. So the element will come from North American Lithium, a mine it co-owns in Quebec, not North Carolina.

The revised contract is three years instead of five years. It calls for the delivery of 125,000 tons of spodumene concentrate, a mineral that contains lithium, intended for Tesla's batteries. That's about the same amount of lithium per year as the original Tesla deal, which was announced in September 2020.


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The new contract calls for market-based pricing at the time of shipment. Lithium prices have risen along with demand as automakers expand their lineups of electric vehicles.

“The electric vehicle and critical battery materials landscape has changed significantly since 2020, and this agreement reflects the importance of — and growing demand for — a North American lithium supply chain," Piedmont Lithium CEO Keith Phillips said in a news release.

"This agreement helps to ensure that these critical resources from Quebec remain in North America and support the mission of the Inflation Reduction Act to bolster the U.S. supply chain, the clean energy economy, and global decarbonization,” Phillips said.

Piedmont is a partner in the Quebec mine with Sayona Quebec. Production is expected to begin in the first half of this year, according to Piedmont.

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David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.