April 11, 2023 at 6:47 a.m.

Council Postpones Hearing

Cherryville is being asked to give up a portion of its ETJ to Gaston County zoning
Council Postpones Hearing
Council Postpones Hearing

Lincoln Herald Staff- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

For over five years, Piedmont Lithium has been working toward bringing a lithium mine to a site just east of Cherryville.

Residents of the area have spoken against the proposed mine at Gaston County Commissioners meetings and while the proposal has the backing of some politicians, it has become a 'hot potato' as residents have expressed fears that the mine would be a major environmental hazard.

Lithium is used to make batteries, and with the state, the nation and the world moving toward electric cars, it has become more needed.

Currenty, China is the world's largest producer of lithium, accounting for over 80% of the world supply. That proposed Cherryville area mine is seen as one of the steps toward making the US production of lithium competitive.

In North Carolina, towns and cities have what is called 'extra territorial jurisdiction,' which gives them the right to control zoning in areas outside the city limits but close by. Backers of the mine proposal want Cherryville to give up its ETJ over the area near the proposed mine location. That's not unusual: just last year, Stanley turned over a part of its ETJ to Gaston County to aid in attracting new industry.

A public hearing on the Cherryville request had been scheduled for Monday night's City Council meeting, but the Cherryville City Council tabled that hearing for another month. 137 of the 1500+ acres for the mine are located in the Cherryville ETJ.

Although Piedmont starting buying land for the mine several years ago and signed a deal with Tesla, the company didn't approach local officials about their plans until July 2021 and applied for a mining permit in August of that year only after a crowd gathered at a County Commissioners meeting to speak against the proposal.

Piedmont says the mine would produce over 30,000 tons of lithium annually--enough to make batteries for over three million electric vehicles.



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