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Energy & Environment
WFAE reporter David Boraks explores how the way we live influences climate change and its impact across the Carolinas. You also can read additional national and international climate news.

Public hearings this week on permit for Gaston County lithium operation

060921 Piedmont Lithium site plan .jpg
Piedmont Lithium
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Piedmont Lithium
A site plan shows potential location of surface mines and processing facilities at the proposed Piedmont Lithium site.

North Carolina environmental officials have scheduled two public hearings this week — one in person and one virtual — on Piedmont Lithium's application for a lithium mining permit in Gaston County.

Piedmont Lithium wants to build the mine and processing operation on about 1,500 acres in northern Gaston County. The company plans to supply lithium for electric vehicle batteries and already has a contract from Tesla.

State mining regulators are inviting comments on the 1,200-page application. Among other things, the application details plans for four open-pit mines that would average 572 feet deep, where ore-processing buildings would go, how blasting would work, what chemicals would be used and what buffers are required between the mine and neighbors.

Some residents and businesses opposing the mine have formed a group called Stop Piedmont Lithium. They're organizing people to speak at the hearings.

The first hearing is Monday at the county courthouse in Gastonia, beginning with an information session at 5:30 p.m. and the hearing from 6:30-9:30 p.m. There's also a virtual hearing Thursday night from 7 to 9.

To speak you'll have to register by noon Monday at https://forms.office.com/g/xjR07YaPa3 or by calling 919-707-9207 .

More information about the permit application or the hearings is on the Department of Environmental Quality website.

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