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Piedmont Lithium adds U.S. expertise to enhance lithium strategy

U.S. investment firm initiates coverage with a buy recommendation.
Piedmont project map
The company plans to build an integrated lithium business

Piedmont Lithium Ltd (ASX:PLL OTCMKTS:PLLLY) has added three experienced U.S. executives to its team as it seeks to advance its lithium strategy.

Patrick Brindle, David Buckley and Bruce Czachor have been appointed as senior officers of the company.

They will help drive different aspects of Piedmont’s plan to build an integrated lithium business centred on the Piedmont Lithium Project in the Carolina Tin-Spodumene Belt.

READ: Piedmont Lithium conducts further drilling aimed at establishing a maiden mineral resource

Patrick Brindle will be vice president – project management, David Buckley will be vice president – chief process engineer and Bruce Czachor will be vice president – general counsel.

Keith Phillips, president and chief executive officer, said, “I am excited that Patrick, Dave and Bruce have chosen to join the Piedmont team.

“Patrick is a highly experienced engineer and has been instrumental in taking many companies from scoping study through to production.

“He will be coordinating the technical and permitting studies we are commencing in early 2018.”

Decades of experience

Phillips said: “Dave has decades of experience in the sector, including several years focused on the Carolina Tin-Spodumene Belt.

“We are committed to building an integrated lithium business and Dave will be instrumental in the development of our downstream strategy.

“I have known Bruce for over 25 years and he will be extremely helpful in driving our U.S. capital markets strategy.

“He will play an important role in the strategic and offtake conversations that are beginning to develop.

“2018 year will be an exciting year for Piedmont, with metallurgical testing, a maiden resource and scoping study all planned for the first half of the year.”

Roth Capital initiates coverage

U.S.-based investment banking firm Roth Capital Partners has initiated coverage of Piedmont with a buy rating.

In North America Piedmont shares trade as American depository receipts (ADRs) with each ADR having the same value as 100 ASX shares.

Piedmont ADRs were last trading at US$17.39 in the U.S. on Tuesday and the Roth price target is US$23.

Roth Capital said: “Although we believe Piedmont’s recent drill campaign and the release of an exploration target provided investors with significant catalysts, the next few quarters could provide many more significant catalysts.”

Catalysts in 2018

These catalysts include phase III drilling of 20,000 metres, an initial resource estimate in the June quarter of 2018 and release of a scoping study in mid-2018.

Roth said: “The company is also likely to focus on a smaller initial project that significantly reduces the permitting time frame.

“We believe a shift in company expectations from a 21-month permitting process to a nine-month process would be a major positive catalyst.”

READ: Piedmont Lithium's Keith Phillips increases stake on-market

The Carolina Tin-Spodumene Belt has been described as one of the largest lithium provinces in the world and is circa 40 kilometres west of Charlotte, North Carolina.

It is a premier location to be developing an integrated lithium business due to its favorable geology, proven metallurgy and easy access to infrastructure, including power.

The belt is also adjacent to R&D centres for lithium and battery storage, major high-tech population centres and downstream lithium processing facilities.

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