IronRidge Resources has signed a conditional binding agreement with Piedmont Lithium to fully fund the Ghana-based Ewoyaa lithium project to production.

According to the deal, Piedmont has an option to earn 50% of IronRidge‘s Cape Coast Lithium Portfolio (CCLP), which comprises the Ewoyaa project, in three phases.

The firm will subscribe for $15m worth of shares in IronRidge. It will also provide $17m additional regional exploration funding towards a definitive feasibility study on the project.

Piedmont will also fund the project’s full CAPEX spend of $70m. It has signed an offtake agreement for 50% of the spodumene concentrate produced from the Ewoyaa mine during its operational life.

IronRidge CEO Vincent Mascolo said: “With the support and investment of Piedmont, along with the African mining expertise of IronRidge’s major shareholder Assore Limited, we look forward with great excitement to developing this industry-leading asset.

“Piedmont is developing a world-class integrated lithium business in the US and will bring vast experience and expertise to the partnership as we prepare to fast-track Ewoyaa to production.”

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The Ewoyaa mine has a JORC-compliant mineral resource estimate of 14.5 million tonnes (Mt) at 1.31% Li₂O in the inferred and indicated category.

Piedmont president and CEO Keith Phillips said: “We consider Ewoyaa to be among one of the world’s most promising spodumene projects, leveraging existing world-class infrastructure including directly adjacent HV power, a major highway within 1km of the site, and the major port of Takoradi less than two hours’ drive away.”

Last month, IronRidge Resources announced its plans to demerge its gold assets in Côte d’Ivoire and Chad into a new gold-focused entity.

In Côte d’Ivoire, the Australian firm has a 3,584km² gold portfolio, which includes its flagship Zaranou gold project.

In Chad, the company has rights to a 746km² tenure in Saharan Metacraton where it is said to have uncovered a significant gold-bearing province.