Piedmont Lithium on Tuesday drew skepticism and anger at a key meeting with local North Carolina officials about its plans for a lithium mine that would supply the electric vehicle battery metal to Tesla.
The open-pit mine, if approved, would be one of the few lithium-producing sites in the United States, but there has been little progress in gaining approvals for the project, which the company has been trying to get up and running for more than two years.
At the public meeting with the Gaston County Board of Commissioners, which controls zoning changes, officials were irked that Piedmont CEO Keith Phillips did not attend and expressed concern that the mine could cause wells in the area, which many residents rely on, to run dry.
Piedmont said it does not expect “widespread drying up of wells,” although it admitted at least 10 of its neighbors could run out of water. “I don’t want to see any of our citizens ever be put in that position,” Commissioner Allen Fraley said at the meeting, which was webcast. “How would you like to wake up one morning and your well’s dry?”
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