Piedmont Lithium’s shares plunged nearly 20% yesterday after claims the company has repeatedly delayed seeking approval from Gaston County in North Carolina for its proposed lithium mine.

In 2020 Piedmont signed a $840 million deal with Tesla which caused its stock to soar, with its proposed lithium mine to be the largest in the US.

The company told investors on June 9 that a rezoning application would proceed following additional pre-application consultation with Gaston County and community leaders following publication of its scoping study results.

But five out of seven county officials have now stated they may block or delay the project because Piedmont has failed to inform them about the mine’s potential environmental impacts – including effects on noise, dust, vibrations, water and air quality.

“This has been the worst rollout of a project from a company I’ve ever seen,” said Chad Brown, a commissioner who opposes the mine.

And that’s not all.

Despite promising investors as early as 2018 that it would obtain permits by 2019, Piedmont has failed to do so – and now Gibbs Law Group is investigating a potential Piedmont Lithium Class Action Lawsuit on behalf of investors who lost money in the company.

The company now in full damage control, announcing a trading halt after shares fell 21.03% today.

CEO Kieth Phillips is set to address the commission tonight around plans to apply for a state mining permit this summer, begin construction in April 2022 and be in production by the second half of 2023.