Piedmont Lithium is an Australian mining company currently in the process of proving economic mineral recovery of lithium in North Carolina. With substantial demand growth for lithium occurring in the 2020s, lithium mining and production companies are growing and some are experiencing marked increases in market valuation. The stock prices of Piedmont Lithium, as well as Lithium Americas and MP Materials, have increased substantially recently as a result of the increased importance of lithium to the global economy.


Piedmont Lithium Ltd was founded as an Australian company in 2016. Cofounders included Australian financier Taso Arima and US geologist Lamont Leatherman, who raised several million dollars of seed funding to start the firm. Arima read about the prospecting work Leatherman had done in the Gaston County, North Carolina area. Leatherman had explored the area for lithium in surface rock in the late 2000s after thinking back to "the green-striped rocks in the yard of his childhood home in [the area]. The rocks contained rich veins of lithium."

"The modern lithium-mining industry started in this North Carolina region in the 1950s, when the metal was used to make components for nuclear bombs. One of the world’s biggest lithium miners by production, Albemarle Corp, is based in nearby Charlotte. Nearly all of [Albemarle's lithium as of March 2021], however, is extracted in Australia and Chile, which have large, accessible deposits of the metal." As of 2021, just one percent of global lithium supply is both mined and processed in the United States (3,150 t (6,940,000 lb)), while 233,550 t (514,890,000 lb) is produced in Australia and Chile.

In September 2020, Piedmont signed a sales agreement with Tesla to supply high-purity lithium ore for up to ten years, specifically to supply "spodumene concentrate ('SC6') from Piedmont's North Carolina deposit to Tesla."

As of early 2021, Piedmont is exploring by drilling many sample cores across 2,300 acres (930 ha) of land it owns or has mineral rights to in Gaston County that surface prospecting had previously shown to contain substantial hard rock mineral deposits in the surface rock.

In March 2021, Piedmont Lithium Ltd proposed a "re-domiciliation from Australia to the United States" under which a newly formed US corporation, Piedmont Lithium Inc, would acquire the Australian Company. The arrangement could be finalized as soon as 2Q21 if approved by the shareholders of Piedmont Lithium Ltd. Shareholders approved the proposal on 29 April 2021, and if several additional legal and regulatory conditions are met, the company could become a US corporation as early as 17 May 2021.


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Alena Potapova

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