Piedmont Lithium Announces Strategic Investment in Quebec Hard-Rock Lithium Developer Sayona Mining

US$12 million investment to acquire 19.9% of Sayona Mining Limited and 25.0% of Sayona Quebec Binding supply agreement for 50% of Sayona Quebec’s spodumene concentrate production Geographic diversification into a world-class mining jurisdiction with large resource base Piedmont positioned to become a major producer of lithium hydroxide from internal and 3 rd party spodumene Piedmont Lithium Limited is pleased to …

  • US$12 million investment to acquire 19.9% of Sayona Mining Limited and 25.0% of Sayona Quebec
  • Binding supply agreement for 50% of Sayona Quebec’s spodumene concentrate production
  • Geographic diversification into a world-class mining jurisdiction with large resource base
  • Piedmont positioned to become a major producer of lithium hydroxide from internal and 3 rd party spodumene

Piedmont Lithium Limited (“ Piedmont ” or “ Company ”) is pleased to announce that it has entered into agreements ( “Agreements” ) to establish a strategic partnership with Sayona Mining Limited ( “Sayona” ) ( ASX:SYA ) through the purchase of equity stakes in Sayona and its 100% owned Quebec subsidiary, Sayona Quebec Inc ( “Sayona Quebec” ), as well as a binding supply agreement for at least 50% of Sayona Quebec’s planned spodumene concentrate production.

Piedmont will acquire an initial 9.9% equity interest in Sayona for approximately US$3.1 million (“ Share Placement ”) and two unsecured convertible notes (“ Convertible Notes ”) for approximately US$3.9 million that upon conversion would result in Piedmont acquiring an additional 10.0% equity interest in Sayona. Piedmont will appoint one director to Sayona’s Board of Directors. Piedmont will also purchase a 25.0% stake in Sayona Quebec for approximately US$5.0 million in cash (“ Project Investment ”). Sayona Quebec owns the DFS-level Authier lithium project, the highly prospective Tansim lithium project, and is pursuing a bid to acquire Quebec-based North American Lithium’s (“ NAL ”) assets.

Piedmont and Sayona Quebec have also entered into a binding spodumene concentrate (“ SC6 ”) supply agreement (“ Supply Agreement ”) pursuant to which Sayona Quebec will supply to Piedmont the greater of 60,000 t/y or 50% of Sayona Quebec’s SC6 production at market prices on a life-of-mine basis.

The Share Placement and issue of the Convertible Notes are expected to close the week of January 11, 2021 with the Project Investment expected to close in February 2021. Material terms of the Agreements are included in the Summary of Transaction Terms at the end of this announcement.

Keith D. Phillips, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Piedmont’s partnership with Sayona will provide multiple benefits. Sayona has high quality asset in a favorable location, and the investments are being made at an attractive valuation. The investments are additive to Piedmont from a resources and reserves perspective, and the spodumene supply agreement will offset our Tesla commitments in the near term and position us for longer term growth in lithium hydroxide production. Furthermore, Sayona’s pursuit of the brownfield assets of NAL offers a unique regional consolidation opportunity.

“Quebec is poised to become an important lithium hydroxide production center given its abundant mineral resources, low-cost, sustainable hydro-electric power, proximity to major US and European electric vehicle markets, and pro-electrification stance of provincial leaders. Sayona’s assets are favorably located in the Val-d’Or region of central Quebec, home to major mining concerns and proximate to first-class infrastructure. Sayona’s core Authier project is well-advanced, with reserves declared and DFS complete, the nearby Tansim project offers strong exploration potential, and the regional consolidation opportunities including NAL are intriguing.”

“This is a very exciting step for Piedmont. We look forward to supporting Sayona’s team as they drive day-to-day activities in Quebec, while Piedmont’s team focuses on its core interests in North Carolina. 2021 will be an important year for our Piedmont Lithium Project, as we plan to expand our mineral resources, finalize permitting, execute additional lithium offtake agreements, complete an integrated definitive feasibility study, and secure strategic project financing. We are fortunate to have a strong balance sheet to comfortably fund the Sayona investments without compromising our aggressive plans in North Carolina.”

About Sayona Mining

Sayona Mining Limited (ASX:SYA; OTC:DMNXF) is an emerging lithium miner, with projects in Québec, Canada and Western Australia. In Québec, Sayona is progressing a bid for the North American Lithium mine with the backing of a world-class advisory team, while advancing its flagship Authier Lithium Project and its emerging Tansim Project. In Western Australia, the Company holds a large tenement portfolio in the Pilbara region prospective for gold and lithium. For more information, please visit www.sayonamining.com.au .

About Piedmont Lithium

Piedmont Lithium Limited (ASX:PLL; Nasdaq:PLL) holds a 100% interest in the Piedmont Lithium Project, a pre-production business targeting the production of 160,000 t/y of spodumene concentrate and the manufacture of 22,700 t/y of battery quality lithium hydroxide in North Carolina, USA to support electric vehicle and battery supply chains in the United States and globally. Piedmont’s premier southeastern USA location is advantaged by favorable geology, proven metallurgy and easy access to infrastructure, power, R&D centers for lithium and battery storage, major high-tech population centers and downstream lithium processing facilities. Piedmont has reported 27.9Mt of Mineral Resources grading at 1.11% Li2O located within the world-class Carolina Tin-Spodumene Belt (“TSB”) and along trend to the Hallman Beam and Kings Mountain mines, which historically provided most of the western world’s lithium between the 1950s and the 1980s. The TSB has been described as one of the largest lithium provinces in the world and is located approximately 25 miles west of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Summary of Transaction Terms

Share Placement

Subscriber

Piedmont Lithium Limited (ASX:PLL)

Issuer

Sayona Mining Limited (ASX:SYA)

No. of Securities

336,207,043 shares

Subscription Price

US$0.0092 per share (aggregate of US$3,093,104.80)

Board Representation

For so long as the Subscriber holds voting power of at least 9% in the Issuer, the Subscriber will have the right to appoint one person as a non-executive director of the Issuer

Other

For so long as the Subscriber holds voting power of at least 9% the Issuer must not issue shares (other than a pro-rata offer of shares to all shareholders on the same terms in which the Subscriber is entitled to participate) without the Subscriber’s prior written consent

Convertible Notes

Subscriber

Piedmont Lithium Limited (ASX:PLL)

Issuer

Sayona Mining Limited (ASX:SYA)

No. of Securities

  • One Tranche A convertible note (convertible into 342,873,866 shares)
  • One Tranche B convertible note (convertible into 81,100,000 shares, subject to Issuer shareholder approval)

Term

5 years

Subscription Price and Face Value

  • Tranche A convertible note – US$3,154,439.57
  • Tranche B convertible note – US$746,120.00

Interest

No interest is payable on convertible notes if completion of the Project Investment occurs

Security

Unsecured

Conversion Price

US$0.0092 per share

Conversion

The Subscriber can convert the convertible notes at any time during the Term, provided that the Subscriber must immediately convert the convertible notes if completion of the Project Investment occurs (and Issuer shareholder approval has been obtained in relation to the conversion of the Tranche B convertible note).

Project Investment

Buyer

Piedmont Lithium Limited (or its nominee)

Seller

Sayona Mining Limited (ASX:SYA)

Sale and Purchase

The Seller agrees to sell, and the Buyer agrees to buy, 25% of the Seller’s 100% interest in Sayona Quebec Inc. which holds the rights to the Authier and Tansim lithium projects

Consideration

US$5,006,335.64

Conditions

Completion is conditional on the following conditions precedent which are for the benefit of the Buyer and can only be waived by the Buyer:

(a) Seller shareholder approval being obtained for the conversion of Tranche B convertible note;

(b) completion of due diligence to the satisfaction of the Buyer;

(c) execution of a shareholders agreement in relation to the Seller;

(d) no material adverse change; and

(e) other customary conditions.

Other

Customary representations, warranties and pre-completion obligations

Supply Agreement

Buyer

Piedmont Lithium Carolinas, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Piedmont

Seller

Sayona Quebec Inc.

Product

Spodumene concentrate containing 6.0% Li 2 O grade (dry basis)

Quantity

60,000 dry metric tonnes (“ dmt ”) per year or 50% of Seller’s production, whichever is greater

Term

Life-of-mine

Price

Market pricing (based on an average price for CIF China Price (US$) for 6.0% SC6 dry basis) with a minimum price of US$500/t and a maximum price of US$900/t on a delivered basis to the Buyer’s planned lithium hydroxide plant in North Carolina

Conditions

Buyer and Seller agreeing to a start date for Product deliveries between July 2023 and July 2024 based on the development schedules of both parties

Forward Looking Statements

This announcement may include forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on Piedmont’s expectations and beliefs concerning future events. Forward looking statements are necessarily subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Piedmont, which could cause actual results to differ materially from such statements. Piedmont makes no undertaking to subsequently update or revise the forward-looking statements made in this announcement, to reflect the circumstances or events after the date of that announcement.

Cautionary Note to United States Investors Concerning Estimates of Measured, Indicated and Inferred Resources

The Project’s Core property Mineral Resource of 25.1Mt @ 1.13% Li 2 O comprises Indicated Mineral Resources of 12.5Mt @ 1.13% Li 2 O and Inferred Mineral Resources of 12.6Mt @ 1.04% Li 2 O. The Central property Mineral Resource of 2.80Mt @ 1.34% Li 2 O comprises Indicated Mineral Resources of 1.41Mt @ 1.38% Li 2 O and 1.39Mt @ 1.29% Li 2 O. The information contained in this announcement has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the securities laws in effect in Australia, which differ from the requirements of U.S. securities laws. The terms “mineral resource”, “measured mineral resource”, “indicated mineral resource” and “inferred mineral resource” are Australian terms defined in accordance with the 2012 Edition of the Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves (the “JORC Code”). However, these terms are not defined in Industry Guide 7 (“SEC Industry Guide 7”) under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “U.S. Securities Act”), and are normally not permitted to be used in reports and filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Effective January 1, 2021, the SEC has adopted amendments to its disclosure rules to modernize the mineral property disclosure requirements for issuers whose securities are registered with the SEC under the Exchange Act and as a result, the SEC now recognizes estimates of “measured mineral resources”, “indicated mineral resources” and “inferred mineral resources”. In addition, the SEC has amended its definitions of “proven mineral reserves” and “probable mineral reserves” to be “substantially similar” to the corresponding definitions under the JORC Code. However, information contained herein that describes Piedmont’s mineral deposits may not be comparable to similar information made public by U.S. companies subject to reporting and disclosure requirements under the U.S. federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder. U.S. investors are urged to consider closely the disclosure in Piedmont’s Form 20-F, a copy of which may be obtained from Piedmont or from the EDGAR system on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov/ .

Competent Persons Statement

The information in this announcement that relates to Exploration Results, Metallurgical Testwork Results, Exploration Targets, Mineral Resources, Concentrator Process Design, Concentrator Capital Costs, Concentrator Operating Costs, Mining Engineering and Mining Schedule is extracted from the Company’s ASX announcements dated July 23, 2020, May 26, 2020, June 25, 2019, April 24, 2019, and September 6, 2018 which are available to view on the Company’s website at www.piedmontlithium.com . Piedmont confirms that: a) it is not aware of any new information or data that materially affects the information included in the original ASX announcements; b) all material assumptions and technical parameters underpinning Mineral Resources, Exploration Targets, Production Targets, and related forecast financial information derived from Production Targets included in the original ASX announcements continue to apply and have not materially changed; and c) the form and context in which the relevant Competent Persons’ findings are presented in this report have not been materially modified from the original ASX announcements.

This announcement has been authorized for release by the Company’s Board of Directors.

Keith Phillips
President & CEO
T: +1 973 809 0505
E: kphillips@piedmontlithium.com

Brian Risinger
VP – Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
T: +1 704 910 9688
E: brisinger@piedmontlithium.com

News Provided by Business Wire via QuoteMedia

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Australia took a stand against Facebook and Google earlier this year, and the move could have long-term implications for tech investors.

It was a ban that sent Australians wild and had the whole world watching.

Back in February, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) stopped users in Australia from posting news in a week-long blackout, reacting to proposed legislation that would have forced the social media behemoth to pay publishers for content.

What prompted Facebook to "friend" Australia again, and what are the potential long-term implications of the squabble? Read on to learn what tech-focused investors in Australia should know about the situation.


Australia squares off against Facebook

On February 25 of this year, Australia's federal government passed the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code. It was developed after extensive analysis by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and is aimed at ensuring that news media businesses are fairly remunerated for their content.

It stipulates that digital platforms such as Facebook and Google (both named in the documentation) must pay news outlets whose content they feature — for example, if content is shared on Facebook or shows up in Google search results. The idea is that this will help to sustain journalism in Australia.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook and Google didn't react well to the code, which was first introduced in 2020.

Google didn't make any moves after it passed, but Facebook quickly made it impossible for Australian users to share news content, and pages for both local and international news organisations went blank — a major concern given the COVID-19 and wildfire concerns that were circulating at the time.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was scathing about Facebook's decision — which he ironically shared in a Facebook post — declaring the tech giant's actions "as arrogant as they were disappointing." He added, "These actions will only confirm the concerns that an increasing number of countries are expressing about the behaviour of BigTech companies who think they are bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to them."

Despite strong feelings from both Australia and Facebook, the dispute was resolved fairly quickly, with the country agreeing to make four amendments to the legislation and Facebook restoring Australian's access to news.

Implications for Big Tech and news organisations

Both Australia and Facebook have claimed victory in the dispute, with a Facebook representative saying the company will be able to decide if news appears on the platform — meaning it won't automatically have to negotiate with any news businesses. Changes were also made to the arbitration process.

Tech experts have pointed out that larger news companies may ultimately benefit from the changes, but smaller ones could be pushed to the side. Major publishers that have struck agreements with tech giants, such as News Corp, Nine Entertainment (ASX:NEC,OTC Pink:NNMTF), Seven West Media (ASX:SWM) and Guardian Australia, may be able to increase their market share while smaller independent players lose out.

A business that is in full support of the laws is Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). During the conflict, President Brad Smith came out loudly in favour of Australia's law, and advised that his company is willing to step up with search engine Bing should Google and/or Facebook pull out of the Australian market.

"In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pushed forward with legislation two years in the making to redress the competitive imbalance between the tech sector and an independent press. The ideas are straightforward. Dominant tech properties like Facebook and Google will need to invest in transparency, including by explaining how they display news content," he said in a blog post.

"The United States should not object to a creative Australian proposal that strengthens democracy by requiring tech companies to support a free press. It should copy it instead."

Global reach and tech investor impact

Six months down the road from Australia's landmark legislation, it's tough to say what the long-term impact may be.

That said, market watchers do believe the country is part of a new precedent of forcing Big Tech into paying for journalism — something giants Facebook and Google are not used to.

Countries looking to pursue similar legislation include Canada, where Facebook agreed in May to pay 14 publishers to link to their articles on its COVID-19 and climate science pages, as well as other unspecified use cases. Canada is pursuing other avenues too. Meanwhile, in France, Google said it will pay publishers for news content after the country took up new EU copyright laws that make digital platforms liable for infringements.

For investors, the takeaway is perhaps that while companies like Facebook and Google may seem too big too fail, they too can fall subject to new regulations that can change how they do business. As nations around the world look to take back control from these mega companies, it's important to be aware of possible effects on their bottom lines.

Don't forget to follow @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Ronelle Richards, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Queensland is the 16th most attractive jurisdiction in the world, sneaking in above BC and the Yukon in Canada, and just behind New Mexico in the US.

Queensland is one of the top three Australian jurisdictions for copper.

While it's well behind South Australia, a behemoth in the country for resources and production, Queensland hosts some 12 percent of all known Australian copper deposits, level with its southern neighbour New South Wales.

A premier mining jurisdiction globally, Queensland is ranked third out of all Australian jurisdictions for mining investment attractiveness, according to the Fraser Institute. Globally, it's ranked as the 16th most attractive jurisdiction, sneaking in above BC and the Yukon in Canada, and just behind New Mexico in the US.


The state is renowned for its mining prowess in Australia, and is known as one of the resource states, with a large chunk of its economic heft coming from the mining industry and its operations across the vast state.

Overall, mining accounts for 11.7 percent of Queensland's economy, with coal and liquefied natural gas being the primary focus of output. Together, coal, gas and mineral exports account for over 80 percent of Queensland's exports, according to the state government.

Having said that, copper plays a large role, and Queensland is home to the second biggest producer of copper in Australia in the form of Glencore's (LSE:GLEN,OTC Pink:GLCNF) Mount Isa mining complex in the northwest of the state. There, Glencore owns and operates the Enterprise and X41 mines.

Aside from Mount Isa, Glencore owns the nearby Ernest Henry copper mine. Combined, Glencore's Queensland operations produced 138,800 tonnes of copper in 2020 — accounting for a little over 10 percent of the company's global copper production. Glencore isn't listed on the ASX, but can be found on the LSE.

Besides the Mount Isa complex itself, there's also a handful of other operational mines in the northwestern portion of the state, although most of them are privately owned, such as the Capricorn copper project, which is a joint venture between EMR Capital and Lighthouse Minerals; it secured itself "prescribed project" status in 2017.

Other privately owned projects include Round Oak's Barbara project (in care and maintenance), Chinese-backed CuDECO's Rockland copper project (mothballed, CuDECO in liquidation) and Chinova's Osborne mine — which was originally set up by Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN,OTCQX:IVPAF). There's also the Balcooma mine, which Royal Gold (NASDAQ:RGLD) has copper royalties on, and the privately owned Mount Cuthbert mine.

Many of the mentioned projects ran into trouble in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic limiting company operations.

All in all, Queensland has 13 operational copper mines, but as can be seen many are in private hands, making investment opportunities somewhat slim. Aside from previously mentioned Glencore operations, there's Red River Resources (ASX:RVR,OTC Pink:RRRDF), which owns the Thalanga operations near Charters Towers. Red River acquired Thalanga in 2014, and has been working to develop the legacy site back into a viable investment.

From the beginning of production in 2017, the operations have a lifespan of some 10 years, according to Red River, with further development and exploration options on the table. In its most recent quarterly report, Thalanga reported output of 3,086 tonnes of copper concentrate.

The remainder of the options on the table for investors are exploration focused, such as Copper Mountain Mining (ASX:C6C,OTC Pink:CPPMF) with interests in the Eva copper project, which is — unsurprisingly — in the northwest of the state, near the town of Cloncurry. Eva is in the development phase, with a feasibility study completed in early 2020 envisaging a 15 year mine life with an annual expected output of 106 million pounds of copper equivalent.

There's also Global Energy Metals (TSXV:GEMC,OTCQB:GBLEF), which like Glencore isn't on the ASX, but has interests in the Millenium cobalt-copper-gold project and others near Mount Isa — all in the exploration stage.

Aside from that, Strategic Energy Resources (ASX:SER) acquired exploration licences from Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM,OTC Pink:NCMGF) in May 2021 for licences around Mount Isa, and Zenith Minerals (ASX:ZNC) is exploring the Develin Creek copper-zinc project. Zenith recently divested from another copper project, Flannagans, in June 2021 by selling its interests to a private company for $450,000.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, currently hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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