Joint venture partners Sayona Mining (OTCQB: SYAXF) and Piedmont Lithium (NASDAQ: PLL) have announced the first spodumene concentrate produced at their North American Lithium (NAL) operation in Quebec, Canada.
In a statement on Wednesday, Sayona reported about 70 tonnes of lithium concentrate had been generated, with commissioning proceeding as planned and the first saleable concentrate expected to be produced shortly.
“These are exciting times with the first saleable lithium concentrate to be produced soon, marking the next step in Sayona’s evolution towards becoming a leading hard rock lithium producer,” Sayona managing director Brett Lynch said.
The NAL joint venture is 75% owned by Sayona and 25% by Piedmont, with Piedmont also holding a 15% stake in Sayona.
The first shipment of spodumene concentrate is scheduled for July with four shipments targeted for the first half of the 2024 financial year.
The partners are targeting total production from the restarted project during that initial period of between 85,000t and 115,000t.
Extensive drilling program planned
Meanwhile, the NAL joint venture has agreed to embark on an aggressive drilling program under a partnership with neighbouring explorer Jourdan Inc in a bid to expand and define sufficient mineral resources to supply increased tonnages to the NAL concentrator.
With over 50,000m planned across NAL and Jourdan’s adjacent Vallee lithium project, it is likely to be one of Quebec’s largest drilling programs this year. Almost half of the drilling is planned at Vallee, where NAL is earning up to a 51% stake under a deal announced last November.
Jourdan chief executive officer and president Rene Bharti said the company is in a “very rare” position to benefit from having access to NAL, which he believes will become Canada’s leading lithium producing mine and concentrator.
“With Jourdan having over 13,000 hectares of land surrounding Sayona’s NAL project, the opportunity to partner with NAL and Sayona to accelerate Jourdan towards production is clear,” he said.
Sayona raises capital to advance lithium projects
Earlier this week, Sayona also announced it has entered into a subscription agreement with PearTree Securities Inc to issue more than 174 million shares priced at C$0.2866 per share to raise a total C$50 million.
The flow-through-shares (FTS) raising will help advance exploration efforts at Sayona’s Quebec lithium projects while the company continues to progress the restart of NAL.
Mr Lynch said the funding will provide an added boost to the company’s expansion plans.
“The FTS provisions [allow] us to raise capital at a premium to the current share price, thereby minimising dilution for the benefit of our shareholders,” he said.