mining

Contractors for Piedmont Lithium drill for core samples in a farm field in northern Gaston County.
David Boraks / WFAE

Piedmont North Carolina's gold-mining history is well known. Not so well known is that mines west of Charlotte once produced most of the world's supply of another important element - lithium. Those mines in Gaston County shut down nearly three decades ago. But a company called Piedmont Lithium wants to open a new surface mine next year to supply lithium for batteries to power electric vehicles.