During Tesla’s Battery Day event, CEO Elon Musk emphasized that for the transition to sustainable energy to happen, an absolutely insane amount of batteries must be produced. This means that the demand for the key materials used in battery production, such as lithium and nickel, are bound to see a massive rise in the coming years. This is something that is becoming very evident to Australian exploration-stage miner Piedmont Lithium, which is currently experiencing what could very well be a “Tesla Effect” or sorts.
Just days after Battery Day, Piedmont announced that it had signed a five-year lithium-ore supply deal with Tesla, with a possible extension for about five years more. The news was embraced by the company’s investors, and Piedmont stock soared over 200% on September 28. This was despite the deal being expected to fully take effect and start around 2022. Propelled by this momentum, which has allowed the company’s stock to be up 160% so far, Piedmont is now using its stock’s strength to raise more money to fund its growth.
Piedmont recently announced that it plans to raise money by selling stock, as per a report from Barron’s. The lithium mining firm noted that it intends to sell up to 1.5 million American Depositary Receipts (ADRs), which are essentially American stock in a company that’s listed abroad. This applies to Piedmont, seeing as the company is based in Australia but its assets are in the United States. One ADR for Piedmont represents about 100 shares of its underlying stock.
If successful, Piedmont could potentially bring in about $45 million, a healthy boost to the $19 million in cash that’s currently on its balance sheet. This additional funding could help the mining firm in the development of its lithium mine in North Carolina, which will be pivotal to its deal with Tesla. This was hinted at by Keith Phillips, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Piedmont Lithium, in a press release late last month.
“We are excited to be working with Tesla, which represents the start of the US domestic lithium supply chain and a disruption to the current value chain. The Agreement highlights the strategic importance of Piedmont’s unique American spodumene deposit and confirms the trend toward spodumene as the preferred feedstock for the lithium hydroxide required in high-nickel batteries.
“We will now accelerate our mine/concentrator development to support Tesla’s plans, work to further expand our mineral resources, and potentially increase our planned annual spodumene concentrate production capacity. We will simultaneously be advancing our plans to produce lithium hydroxide in North Carolina, using a combination of internally produced spodumene concentrate as well as material sourced from other producers around the world,” he said.