Lithium developer Sayona Mining has received the final permit for restarting operations at the North American Lithiu (NAL), an open pit mining and spodumene concentrate operation, near Val-d’Or, Quebec, Canada.

The permit has been issued by the Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Sayona Mining owns a 75% stake in Sayona Quebec, which owns NAL, while Piedmont Lithium (PLL) owns the remaining 25%.

Sayona Québec CEO Guy Laliberté said: “Global demand for lithium is increasing weekly and it is essential that NAL go into production to help satisfy this demand.”

With the latest approval, the partners will move ahead with the planned recommencement of production at NAL in the first quarter of 2023.

In order to optimise production, Sayona has upgraded the equipment and facilities of the NAL complex.

Sayona Québec environment vice-president Annie Blier said: “With this major advance, Sayona will become the only producer of lithium concentrate in Québec and in Canada. This is a very promising position for our region, which puts us at the forefront of the emerging energy transition.”

The NAL mine initially started commercial production in early 2018. However, operations were suspended in 2019 due to a drop in the prices of lithium products and spodumene concentrate.

Sayona managing director Brett Lynch said: “With the planned expansions of our resource base both at NAL and at our northern lithium hub, Sayona is well placed to become the leading lithium producer in North America, facilitating the EV and battery revolution in North America.”