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Piedmont Lithium lays off 27% of workforce amid weak prices

A rock is displayed at Piedmont Lithium's headquarters in Belmont

(Reuters) -U.S. miner Piedmont Lithium said on Tuesday it recently completed a 27% reduction in its workforce as part of a cost-cutting plan, amid a decline in the price of lithium.

The company said it expects to complete the majority of its cost saving initiatives by the end of the first quarter and aims to achieve about $10 million in annual savings. It had 40 employees as of Dec. 31, 2022.

In January, larger rival Albemarle had announced its intention to cut jobs and halt expansion in response to declining prices for the metal used in electric vehicle batteries.

“These cost reduction actions, while difficult, are necessary to position the company for the long-term. Lithium prices have fallen sharply, and the market consensus is currently negative," CEO Keith Phillips said in a statement.

The global supply of the metal has outpaced demand from the battery market over the last year, resulting in an 81% decline in prices, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

Piedmont said on Tuesday it has provided additional information to North Carolina regulators to obtain a long-delayed mining permit and that a decision is expected in the coming weeks.

The company has also invested in Quebec-focused Sayona Mining and Ghana-focused Atlantic Lithium, securing access to lithium from both companies.

(Reporting by Sourasis Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Dhanya Ann Thoppil)

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