Piedmont is committed to progressive reclamation throughout the life of our operations. For our Carolina Lithium project, production of lithium hydroxide will continue at the site long after mining for spodumene ore is complete. However, we plan to start reclamation from our mining activities as soon as practically possible to restore and prepare the site for post- operational use.
Of the four quarries included in our proposed Carolina Lithium project plans, we expect that three will be backfilled with excavated rock, which will then be covered. Native vegetation can be planted on the slopes of these rock piles as we build them. The quarry located near our production facility can be filled with water and remain as part of our manufacturing site.
Piedmont is responsible for these reclamation activities, and we plan to pay for them. In accordance with North Carolina mining permit requirements, we will likely post a surety bond to provide financial assurance to the community that reclamation will occur. The State of North Carolina determines the amount of the bond and will not release funds until we have proven that all reclamation requirements have been met.
In the future, we want the Carolina Lithium site to be put to good use. When the time comes, we would like input from relevant stakeholders on potential, post-operational uses. The site could be a place for parks, trails, greenways, industrial uses, business uses, solar development – or a combination of any of these.
In 2021, Piedmont initiated a cultural resource survey through an independent consulting, engineering, and construction management firm to understand the cultural and historic context of the properties that constitute the proposed Carolina Lithium project. In addition to pedestrian surveys and visual inspections, the study consisted of over 2,100 shovel test probes, excavated at 30-meter intervals, and ground-penetrating radar to further define the area. Of the samples collected, four areas on the site were identified as potential cemeteries.
Based on these findings, protection plans were developed for these areas and shared with the State Historical Preservation Office of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources for review and approval. These plans include the creation of suitable buffers around the cemeteries to allow access to the graves while ensuring the areas are protected.