Piedmont Lithium Inc (ASX: PLL) shareholders have been given a rude awakening on Wednesday. The miner’s shares have slid 21% to 68.5 cents at the opening of trade.
There was no price-sensitive news from the company this morning. So what could possibly warrant a 20% fall in the emerging lithium producer’s shares?
Why the Piedmont Lithium share price is tumbling
Reuters has flagged a major shortcoming for Piedmont Lithium’s plans to become the “USA’s number one lithium hydroxide producer”.
According to Reuters, “The company [however] has not applied for a state mining permit or a necessary zoning variance in Gaston County, just west of Charlotte, despite telling investors since 2018 that it was on the verge of doing so.”
“Five of the seven members of the county’s board of commissioners, who control zoning changes, say they may block or delay the project because Piedmont has not told them what levels of dust, noise and vibrations will occur, nor how water and air quality would be affected.”
These permitting issues might be the catalyst behind the sharp 20% decline in the Piedmont Lithium share price this morning.
When did they expect to receive these permits?
According to a company presentation from November 2020, permitting for spodumene concentrate production and its chemical plant were expected to be complete by mid-2021.
Reuters said that, “Piedmont had been set to meet with commissioners in March, but canceled with three days’ notice, further straining the relationship. Piedmont said it canceled that meeting in order to further refine its plans.”
What’s next for the Piedmont Lithium share price?
Reuters reported that Piedmont President and CEO Keith Phillips expects to apply for a state mining permit this summer (June–August). With this permit they would aim to begin construction in April 2022 and production in the second half of 2023.
With today’s change, Piedmont Lithium’s market capitalisation is $1.37 billion.