Permitting process drags on for Piedmont Lithium’s mine in Gaston Co.

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — Piedmont Lithium Inc. revealed in June that it was looking abroad to produce lithium hydroxide while it navigates local and state approvals processes for its proposed Gaston County mine. Those approvals processes seem set to spill into next year.

Piedmont Lithium applied last year for its state mining permit from the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources. That review is still ongoing. Josh Kastrinsky, the public information officer for the DEMLR, said Piedmont Lithium was given a 180-day extension in July to provide more information.

Monique Parker, Piedmont Lithium’s vice president of safety, environment and health, says the extension was granted so the company could continue Leaching Environmental Assessment Framework, or LEAF, testing for materials from its proposed operations.

“These tests will provide us with additional information that will help us design a responsible reclamation plan and manage long-term ground and surface water quality in the area of our operations,” Parker said in a statement to the Charlotte Business Journal. “While we had originally planned to respond to DEMLR’s request within the original 180-day response period, we’ve found that the labs which are able to complete these tests have large backlogs. Our lab partners are doing their best to respond in a timely manner, but because we could not complete all requested tests by the end of June, we requested a 180-day extension from DEMLR to complete our responses.”

Read more here.

(WATCH BELOW: Report: Piedmont Lithium looks to mine internationally)