Piedmont Lithium has received a mining permit from the North Carolina DEMLR for its Carolina Lithium project in Gaston County.

This permit, issued after Piedmont Lithium posted a $1m reclamation bond, allows the company to develop an open-pit mine that is poised to become one of the largest sources of lithium in the US, Reuters reported.

The mining site spans 1,548 acres, with 964 acres bonded for disturbance.

The DEMLR noted that it has awarded the permit with operational limits after thoroughly considering comments received during the public engagement process, including a public hearing held in November 2021.

Piedmont Lithium submitted the mining permit application to the DEMLR on 30 August 2021.

The permit, which follows the Mining Act of 1971, includes strict conditions related to environmental protection.

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These provisions cover wastewater and storm water discharge, air quality, dust control and blasting. The company must also maintain buffers between the mining operations and surrounding waterways.

The DEMLR has stipulated that no waste generated outside the mining boundary may be disposed of on-site without additional permission.

The permit also mandates the use of a synthetic liner for waste rock disposal and extensive water monitoring, including bi-weekly surface water sampling and weekly checks of pH and water levels in monitoring wells.

Other conditions by the DEMLR include monthly water quality analysis in monitoring wells and quarterly groundwater sampling near the in-pit rock storage areas.

Before operations can commence, Piedmont Lithium will also need to secure additional state permits for air quality and wastewater discharge.

The government agency further noted that the mining permit does not override any local zoning regulations or ordinances that may be in place by cities or counties.