Is Gaston County considering stopping proposed $1B lithium mining plan?

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — Channel 9 has learned that Gaston County commissioners are considering stopping a proposed lithium mining operation.

Piedmont Lithium is planning a nearly $1 billion mine, but commissioners will meet on Friday in special meeting and could temporarily prevent the mining operation from happening.

Piedmont Lithium does not have permits yet to mine in the county, but it is pulling samples and hope to create an operation that will allow them to produce lithium to power electric cars and batteries.

Past coverage:

The mine would be a nearly $1 billion investment and would bring 500 jobs to the area.

Piedmont Lithium has purposed land or agreed to buy property from more than 100 people, but there are still some who are fighting to stop the operation.

They told Channel 9 the fact that commissioners are considering a moratorium on drilling is a good thing, and hope it means they’re one step closer to blocking the mining operation.

Commissioners have not publicly said why they have called Friday’s meeting or what it means for the planned operation.

Bev Rowland said her home on Hephizbah Church Road is within an earshot of the proposed mining near Cherryville.

The thought of what could happen if Piedmont Lithium begins mining operations nearby made her cry.

“And that’s when it hit me,” Rowland said. “I don’t want it. I don’t want it to change.”

She hopes the emergency meeting called by commissioners means they don’t want mining either.

“That gives us a lot of hope,” she said. “We are hoping they will pack up their gear and go away.”

A few speakers during a recent public hearing said they welcome it operation.

“We are sitting on a gold mine, literally,” supporter Pat Martin said.

Piedmont Lithium has already purchased land from 140 people.

Check back with wsoctv.com for updates on this story.

(WATCH BELOW: Residents push back as Lithium Piedmont aims to expand mining plans in Gaston County)