The JORC resource estimate is based on 231 core holes and 52% of the resource is classified in the Indicated category.
Significantly, this is the first resource estimate completed in over 30 years in the historic Carolina Tin-Spodumene Belt.
The belt was the home to most of the world’s lithium production and processing from the 1950s until the 1980s.
Piedmont’s president and CEO Keith D. Phillips said: “This high-grade maiden resource has surpassed our initial exploration target and represents an important milestone for Piedmont.
“The resource will underpin the upcoming scoping study, which we believe will reflect the significant advantages associated with our unique location.”
Piedmont is now focused on the completion of the scoping study which is expected in the September quarter of 2018.
Benefits of the strategic North Carolina location
Phillips added: “There are many interesting lithium projects being advanced around the world, but Piedmont has the only project based in the industrial heartland of the United States and the cradle of lithium production, with all the economic and strategic benefits that derive from that position.
“With regional exploration progressing and constructive conversations ongoing with numerous local land owners, we are optimistic that this initial resource will be just the beginning, and that Piedmont is well-positioned to develop a world-class, low-cost integrated lithium business in the United States.”
Metallurgy update expected shortly
Piedmont has concluded bench scale flotation optimisation tests and heavy liquid separation tests in May 2018.
A process test work report update is expected within the next several weeks.
Pilot test work is expected to commence within June 2018 and an ore sorting test work program is scheduled to be undertaken in August 2018.
Battery-grade lithium test work also planned
Conversion test work to demonstrate Piedmont’s ability to convert spodumene concentrate to battery grade quality lithium hydroxide monohydrate and lithium carbonate is planned.
This will occur upon conclusion of the pilot concentration test work program in the upcoming December half.
The company expects to select its conversion test work partner within June 2018.
READ: Piedmont Lithium sampling returns high-grade lithium at new property in Carolina Tin Spodumene Belt
Drilling is underway on the Sunnyside property with initial results expected in the coming weeks.
Drilling is expected to then follow on Piedmont’s Central property.
Further drilling programs will be developed over the next year which are expected to target the highest priority areas within the project.