Mining permit granted for controversial Carolina Lithium project


GASTON CO., N.C. (WBTV) – The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources has issued a mining permit for the Piedmont Lithium Carolinas, the department announced Tuesday.

The operation will cover 1,548 acres in Gaston County, of which 964 acres are bonded for disturbance.

The area is located within the Carolina Tin-Spodumene Belt and Battery Belt.

Piedmont announced in April that the permit would be approved.

[NCDEQ grants permit for proposed Carolina Lithium project]

The mine has been in the works since its proposal in 2021. The project as a whole has been called the Carolina Lithium project.

Several modern devices require lithium-ion batteries to operate, including wireless earbuds, cars, and tools.

The permit was issued with operational limits.

[Concern over Piedmont Lithium mine project continues; company seeks procedural matter with Cherryville]

Conditions of the permit were based upon the Mining Act of 1971, and include provisions related to wastewater and stormwater discharge, air quality and dust control, blasting and buffers between the operation and any surrounding waterways.

No on-site disposal of waste generated outside of the mining boundary is allowed without seeking permission from DEMLR.

The permit also includes requirements for a synthetic liner in its waste rock disposal pile and additional water monitoring as follows:

Surface water sampling every two weeksWeekly monitoring of pH and water levels in monitoring wells around the above-ground storage areasMonthly sampling and analysis of water quality in monitoring wellsQuarterly sampling of the groundwater monitoring well network nearby in-pit rock storage

Additional state permits for air quality and wastewater discharge will be required before the facility can begin operations.

The issuance of a mining permit does not supersede or otherwise affect or prevent the enforcement of any zoning regulation or ordinance duly adopted by an incorporated city or county.

The final permit, final permit reviews and hearing officer reports can be found on the DEMLR website.

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