Piedmont Lithium has agreed to sell its interest in Sayona Mining by offloading 1.15 billion shares for A$59.9m ($39.4m).

The transaction was conducted through a secondary block sale managed by Canaccord Genuity, with shares priced at A$0.052 each.

This price is a premium compared with the 20-day volume weighted average price of Sayona’s shares.

After this sale and some smaller recent deals in the public market, Piedmont Lithium will not own any share in Sayona.

Despite this divestiture, Piedmont has clarified that its joint venture (JV) and offtake agreements with Sayona Quebec remain unaffected.

The decision to sell the shares aligns with Piedmont Lithium’s strategy to maintain a strong balance sheet and minimise shareholder dilution.

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Piedmont emphasised that this move, along with the cost-saving measures detailed in its recent corporate update, is a strategic step to position Piedmont for long-term success.

Piedmont Lithium president and CEO Keith Phillips said: “This transaction underscores our commitment to delivering long-term value for Piedmont shareholders. We acquired our initial Sayona shares as part of our strategic investment in the Sayona Quebec joint venture and will recognise a meaningful gain on the investment.

“We remain fully committed to our joint venture with Sayona, with a particular focus on the ongoing ramp-up of North American Lithium, the largest lithium operation in North America.

“Our 25% joint venture interest and associated offtake agreement are core assets of Piedmont, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with our partners at Sayona to supply IRA [Inflation Reduction Act]-qualified lithium resources critical to the US electric vehicle supply chain.”

Earlier this month, Piedmont Lithium cut 27% of its jobs in the fallout from declining lithium prices.

The company has a JV operation in Canada and a project in Ghana, and expects to complete most of its cost-saving measures by the end of the first quarter.