Responsible Water Use
One of the keys to developing Carolina Lithium as a sustainable lithium hydroxide operation is the responsible management of water resources in and around our project.
We plan to utilize both municipal water and groundwater that has been recycled from our pit dewatering process in our operations. Our lithium hydroxide manufacturing plant will require municipal water to convert spodumene concentrate to battery grade lithium. We are currently working with Gaston County and the municipalities of Cherryville and Gastonia to develop plans for supplying municipal water and sewer to the region.
Our water development plan would not only support our project but also expand water and sewer access to residents and businesses in the region. Piedmont Lithium has agreed to fund the cost of the engineering planning for this potential expansion as well as the construction required to extend municipal water and sewer to the project area.
At our spodumene concentrator, we plan to use recycled freshwater from our pit dewatering process, which should reduce our overall municipal water use.
Municipal Water Use
Our municipal water use at Carolina Lithium is expected to follow a circular, closed–loop process. We require municipal quality water for our lithium hydroxide conversion facility, where we also will need water for our people and our fire prevention plans.
We expect to source water from the Cherryville municipality with backup from Two Rivers Utilities. Water for our people, manufacturing process, and fire response strategy will flow to our lithium hydroxide conversion plant. Wastewater will flow from the facility to our planned process water treatment facility, where it will be treated before traveling to the wastewater pump station and discharging to Two Rivers Utilities for further treatment. No wastewater will be discharged to streams and rivers.
Fresh Water Use
As we encounter fresh water in our mining operations, dewatering the pits will be required to operate safely and efficiently. We plan to pump this water from our pits to sedimentation ponds, where our team of hydrologists and engineers plan to use specialized equipment to monitor water quality. Water will be treated as necessary to ensure a level of quality that meets the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards and state permit requirements.
From the sedimentation ponds, a portion of the freshwater will be discharged to streams and waterways. The remaining portion is expected to be recycled as process water in our spodumene concentrator facility. Wastewater from the concentrator will flow to our onsite process water treatment facility, where it will be treated before traveling to the wastewater pump station and discharging to Two Rivers Utilties for further treatment.
Sedimentation Basins and Ponds
Sedimentation basins and ponds are being planned to help manage freshwater and stormwater at Carolina Lithium.
Sedimentation basins are being designed at the low points of our project site to capture storm water, which will be tested and treated as defined by our permit before being discharged to streams. Sedimentation ponds will capture both storm water and the fresh water we plan to pump from our pits. Our team of hydrologists and engineers will rest, test, and treat the water, as necessary, before it is either discharged to streams or reused in our spodumene concentrator facility.