Connect with us

Stock Markets

Piedmont Lithium looks abroad amid North Carolina uncertainty

Published

on

3/3

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A sign planted by opponents of the Piedmont Lithium’s planned mine is seen on a roadside in Gaston County, North Carolina, U.S., July 15, 2021. REUTERS/Ernest Scheyder

2/3

By Ernest Scheyder

(Reuters) – Piedmont Lithium Inc’s first steps toward securing lithium supplies will be in Quebec or Ghana, not the United States, as an intensifying North Carolina regulatory review delays the miner’s goal of anchoring America’s electric vehicle battery renaissance.

The delay has forced Piedmont to expand its strategy beyond its proposed North Carolina mine – a project it has touted as the best way to help secure American energy independence, but one that now faces a regulatory quagmire – and fund mines abroad.

“We think two of our projects will happen faster than our Carolina Lithium project: Quebec and Ghana,” said Chief Executive Keith Phillips. “The (North Carolina) regulators are doing a very good job. It’s a rigorous process. It’ll happen when it happens.”

Piedmont was founded in 2016 in Australia but moved its headquarters last year to North Carolina, where it hopes to dig a 500-foot-deep (150 m-deep) open-pit mine in a $988 million project that would be one of the largest U.S. lithium mines.

The relocation was designed to be closer to EV manufacturing plants being built across the U.S. South by Toyota, SK Innovation and others.

Piedmont signed a deal in 2020 to begin supplying Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Inc with lithium sometime between July 2022 and July 2023 from the North Carolina mine, but last year delayed the first shipments without a definitive date for when deliveries could begin.

Reuters reported last summer that Piedmont’s chaotic roll out of that plan – in which it wooed Wall Street and Tesla before local residents – had fueled concerns about levels of dust, noise and vibrations in the area just outside Charlotte.

Those issues are now the focus of the state mining review process that officials and the company itself acknowledge has no clear end date. Piedmont does not have an expectation for when its North Carolina facility will open.

As opposition to the North Carolina mine grew, Piedmont invested last year in Quebec-focused Sayona Mining Ltd and Ghana-focused Atlantic Lithium Ltd.

Meanwhile, Albemarle (NYSE:ALB) Corp, the world’s biggest lithium miner, is hiring staff and buying land in a neighboring North Carolina county as it mulls re-opening a mothballed spodumene lithium mine that would compete directly with Piedmont.

REGULATORY QUESTIONS

North Carolina regulators asked Piedmont in January for more detail on 12 points they felt were not adequately explained in the company’s mining permit application, according to regulatory filings.

Regulators asked Piedmont to explain how the proposed mine could affect water table levels, as well as how to modify mine site blasting on cloudy days to limit dust that could affect a nearby airport’s operations. The state additionally has “many concerns” about Piedmont’s plans to discharge chemicals into the public sewer system, according to the filings, and archaeologists have recommended that Piedmont erect a 25-foot buffer around four cemeteries at the mine site, a step that could force the company to change its development plans.

Piedmont has until July 13 to respond.

While investor appetite for lithium stocks has been high in recent years, Piedmont has outperformed even among peers, hitting a record high near $80 this past spring before softening. In March, it booked $130.8 million in a secondary stock offering.

Seven analysts rate Piedmont stock a “buy” with all expecting it to trade higher, according to Refinitiv Eikon.

Piedmont said it has applied for U.S. Department of Energy loans, although the company would need to have its North Carolina permits before it would receive government support. The funds could not be used to dig mines in Quebec or Ghana.

In January 2021, Piedmont bought a roughly 20% stake in Sayona and its Quebec lithium projects. First production is expected next year.

Piedmont also took a 9% stake in Ghana-focused Atlantic Lithium, and committed to spending $17 million on a feasibility study and $70 million on building Atlantic’s Ewoyaa lithium project.The market value of both investments has surged in the past year due in part to rising lithium prices. Piedmont will not operate the mines in Quebec or Ghana but has agreed to buy at least half of each company’s production of a lightly processed type of lithium known as spodumene concentrate.

“The potential for Piedmont to generate cash flow as early as 2023 is being overlooked by the market,” said Canaccord Genuity analyst Reg Spencer, referring to Quebec.

ALBEMARLE LOOMS

Pushback from residents and regulators is not Piedmont’s only problem in North Carolina.

Albemarle, which supplies Tesla, appears set to reopen its Kings Mountain, North Carolina, mine in a mining-friendly county near Piedmont’s proposed site.

In March, it bought 60 acres (25 hectares) that abut that mine site, hinting at the company’s future expansion plans. Albemarle has also recently posted job openings to help run the facility.

Albemarle is conducting initial geological tests and the project could open by 2027, spokesperson Kim Ronkin Casey said.

Lithium produced from spodumene rock can be used to make lithium hydroxide, which is prized by EV battery manufacturers partly because it holds a charge longer than the more-common lithium carbonate.

The United States does not have an active lithium spodumene mine, so the first one to open will garner huge interest from the country’s nascent battery sector.

Albemarle said it has been sharing its plans widely with the local community, taking the opposite tack from Piedmont, which purposefully did not approach local residents with its plans for years.

“There’s a lot of work we’re doing also with the community,” said Eric Norris, head of Albemarle’s lithium division. “We’ve engaged them very early on.”

Stock Markets

Easing chip shortages to help Volkswagen in H2 – CEO

Published

on


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Volkswagen logo is pictured at the 2022 New York International Auto Show, in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., April 13, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) – Volkswagen (ETR:VOWG_p) sees a strong second half of 2022 and expects progress in catching up with rival Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) as easing chip shortages start to offset supply chain bottlenecks and rising costs, the carmaker’s CEO said on Tuesday.

“We are earning more than ever,” Chief Executive Herbert Diess said at a works meeting, adding Volkswagen is ramping up electric vehicle volumes in its biggest markets in Germany and China thanks to easing semiconductor shortages.

This should allow the carmaker to narrow the Volkswagen-Tesla gap this year and meet its goal of becoming market leader by 2025 if it seizes the moment while the U.S. electric car maker burns cash on large investments, the CEO said.

“Elon (Musk) has to ramp up two highly complex factories in Austin and Gruenheide at the same time – as well as expand production in Shanghai. That’s going to take strength out of him,” Diess said.

Continue Reading

Stock Markets

Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani steps down as director of telecom arm

Published

on


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, arrives to address the company’s annual general meeting in Mumbai, India July 5, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani has stepped down as director of Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, the conglomerate’s telecom arm said on Tuesday.

Reliance Jio said https://refini.tv/3Nrs773 it has appointed Mukesh’s son and non-executive director Akash Ambani as the chairman of its board. Akash has been involved with the telecom unit since its launch in late 2016, where he started as a director.

India’s telecoms sector had been upended after the entry of Jio, which triggered a price war that forced some rivals out of the market and turned profits into losses.

Jio, which started out offering mobile teleservices, has been aggressively investing in services like internet broadband and forging ties with handset makers to launch low-cost smartphones and providing 5G services.

Continue Reading

Stock Markets

UBS Downgrades Ebay, Farfetch to Neutral on Guidance Risks

Published

on


© Reuters. UBS Downgrades Ebay (EBAY), Farfetch (FTCH) to Neutral on Guidance Risks

By Senad Karaahmetovic

UBS analyst Kunal Madhukar downgraded shares of Farfetch (NYSE:FTCH) and eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) to Neutral from Buy.

EBAY shares are cut alongside the price target (to $48.00 from $60.00 per share) despite low expectations. Still, the analyst expects 2022 GMV to fall by 17%, which is worse than the guidance of 16%-14% and the Street’s consensus of 15%.

“We think the buy side may already be lower than the Street. YTD, the stock has been one of the better performers within the eCommerce space, benefiting from both a ~2% dividend yield and aggressive share repurchases. However, when the market rebounds, we think EBAY shares could lag smaller cap peers (which are likely to grow much faster in a recovery) until investors have better visibility into organic growth at eBay. Consequently, we think the shares likely will remain range-bound until visibility improves,” Madhukar told clients in a note.

The price target on Farfetch shares goes to $10.00 from the prior $13.00 as Madhukar sees too optimistic assumptions for growth from the side of the company’s management.

“In addition to slower growth, we think upside is limited by lack of visibility into key drivers of value, including FPS volumes and economics, as well as on China. Granted, the YNAP deal could be a positive catalyst (link), but if the disclosure is limited (like with the recent deal with Neiman Marcus Group or NMG), it may be challenging for investors to understand if it creates shareholder value or not. Last, FTCH remains a profitless-tech company in an environment where investors are acutely focused on profits, and thus, there is limited valuation support,” the analyst added.

Similar to eBay, Madhukar sees shares remaining “range-bound until we have better visibility into growth and/or the path to profitability.”

Shares of eBay and Farfetch are down 2.4% and 2.2%, respectively, in pre-market Tuesday.

Continue Reading

News

Cryptocurrency22 hours ago

Dogecoin price could rally 20% in July with this bullish reversal pattern

Dogecoin price could rally 20% in July with this bullish reversal pattern Dogecoin (DOGE) looks ready to extend its rebound...

Stock Markets22 hours ago

Easing chip shortages to help Volkswagen in H2 – CEO

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Volkswagen logo is pictured at the 2022 New York International Auto Show, in Manhattan, New York...

Economy22 hours ago

Futures rise as easing China COVID curbs lift travel, leisure stocks

© Reuters. A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S.,...

Economy22 hours ago

Euro below $1.06 as Lagarde keeps July policy options open

© Reuters. A shopper pays with a ten Euro bank note at a local market in Nice, France, June 7,...

Economy22 hours ago

China’s economy recovering but foundation not solid, premier says

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is seen on a screen as he attends a news conference via...

Cryptocurrency22 hours ago

3 charts showing this Bitcoin price drop is unlike summer 2021

3 charts showing this Bitcoin price drop is unlike summer 2021 Bitcoin (BTC) bear markets come in many shapes and...

Stock Markets22 hours ago

Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani steps down as director of telecom arm

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, arrives to address the company’s annual general...

Stock Markets22 hours ago

UBS Downgrades Ebay, Farfetch to Neutral on Guidance Risks

© Reuters. UBS Downgrades Ebay (EBAY), Farfetch (FTCH) to Neutral on Guidance Risks By Senad Karaahmetovic UBS analyst Kunal Madhukar...

Stock Markets22 hours ago

Bank of America Clients are Selling This Rally

© Reuters. Bank of America Clients are Selling This Rally By Senad Karaahmetovic Bank of America strategist Jill Carey Hall...

Stock Markets22 hours ago

Michelin to hand over Russian operations to local management

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of French tyre maker Michelin is seen on tyre of a Formula E racing...

World22 hours ago

U.S. Capitol riot panel promises new evidence at surprise Tuesday hearing

2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A video of former U.S President Donald Trump speaking is shown on a screen during...

Economy22 hours ago

Stocks, oil higher as China relaxes quarantine rules

2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective mask, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, walks past an...

Cryptocurrency22 hours ago

FTM Begins to Retest Previous Highs As Correction May Be Over

FTM Begins to Retest Previous Highs As Correction May Be Over Fantom (FTM) seems to be retesting previous highs. FTM...

Stock Markets22 hours ago

White House says companies investing $700 million to boost EV charger production

2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A electric vehicle charger is seen as a vehicle charges in Manhattan, New York, U.S.,...

Cryptocurrency22 hours ago

SEC Chief Gary Gensler Labels Bitcoin a Commodity, but Other Cryptos Securities

The U.S. regulator has determined: bitcoin is a commodity. Other cryptocurrencies can be securities SEC Chair Gary Gensler reiterated that...

Stock Markets22 hours ago

Explainer-Why the survival of Scandinavian airline SAS hinges on Denmark

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) plane is refuelled at Oslo Gardermoen airport, Norway, November 7, 2019. REUTERS/Lefteris...

Forex23 hours ago

Lira Weakens as Corporates Keep Buying Dollars Despite New Rule

© Bloomberg. An electronic board displays exchange rates information at a currency exchange bureau in Istanbul, Turkey, on Friday, June...

Stock Markets23 hours ago

Russia fines foreign firms for alleged data storage violations

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Attendees walk past a Twitch logo painted on stairs during opening day of E3, the annual...

Stock Markets23 hours ago

Siemens to invest in Volkswagen’s N.American charging network

© Reuters. A electric vehicle charger is seen as a vehicle charges in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 7, 2021....

Commodities23 hours ago

Why Russian oil and gas price cap is easier said than done

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Model of petrol pump is seen in front of EU and Russian flag colors in this...

Stock Markets23 hours ago

FTX-Robinhood Rumors: Piper Sandler Sees ‘Win-win’ Situation, Others Less Optimistic

© Reuters FTX-Robinhood Rumors: Piper Sandler Sees a ‘Win-win’ Situation, Others Less Optimistic By Senad Karaahmetovic   Robinhood (NASDAQ:HOOD) shares...

Stock Markets23 hours ago

Lufthansa CEO apologises for summer travel chaos

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: CEO of German air carrier Lufthansa Carsten Spohr delivers a speech at the ILA Berlin Air...

Commodities23 hours ago

G7 agrees to explore cap on Russian oil price – communique

2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Yang Mei Hu oil products tanker owned by COSCO Shipping gets moored at the crude...

Cryptocurrency23 hours ago

Uzbekistan warms up to Bitcoin mining, but there’s a catch

Uzbekistan releases requirements for miners Uzbekistan’s National Advanced Projects Agency (NAPP) has required miners to register and use solar power...

Cryptocurrency23 hours ago

Ethereum’s Price Action Suggests Better Upside Potential

Ethereum’s Price Action Suggests Better Upside Potential At the moment, ETH’s price is closer to a bottom than a new...

Stock Markets23 hours ago

From Peru to Uganda, activists call on Deutsche Bank to drop fossil finance

4/4 © Reuters. Ankuash Mitiap Kapuchak and Shapiom Noningo Sesen, indigenous leaders from Peru and Ricardo Perez of the environmental...

Politics23 hours ago

Factbox-Four key races in Illinois, Colorado midterm primaries

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An American flag flies outside of the U.S. Capitol dome in Washington, U.S., January 15, 2020....

World23 hours ago

Rescuers dig for survivors after Russian missiles demolish Ukrainian shopping mall

6/6 © Reuters. Rescuers work at a site of a shopping mall hit by a Russian missile strike, as Russia’s...

Stock Markets23 hours ago

Renault teams up with Atos on data gathering

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Renault logo on the Renault Scenic Vision concept-car is seen at its exhibition space, at...

Cryptocurrency23 hours ago

Cardano Has Highest Development Activities in 30 Days: Report

Cardano Has Highest Development Activities in 30 Days: Report Sanbase reports a list of the top 10 coins with the...

Trending