Lithium mine startup in Charlotte region lands sales deal with Tesla

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — Anastasios “Taso” Arima, member of the board of directors for Piedmont Lithium Ltd., moved from New York City to the Charlotte area this week. He did so during a momentous week for the lithium mine startup operation, which has been working and planning in Gaston and Cleveland counties for years.

On Monday, the company announced it had come to a sales agreement with Tesla Inc. The deal is for a five-year period starting with the delivery of the first product. Piedmont will produce spodumene concentrate, or SC6, for Tesla, and the start date for product deliveries will be between July 2022 and July 2023, the company said.

In recent years, Piedmont has obtained 1,200 acres west of Gastonia for the purpose of mining lithium there. The company’s goal is to become a domestic supplier of battery-grade lithium hydroxide, and it hopes to have a plant in production by 2023.

“Since Taso and Lamont founded the company in 2016, we’ve really been searching for what we would describe as third-party validation of the project,” said Patrick Brindle, vice president of project management for Piedmont. “We feel that signing a sales agreement with Tesla is that third-party validation.”

Arima said Friday that the Tesla deal will accelerate the company’s plans, which are ambitious and potentially lucrative for the Charlotte region.

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