Piedmont Lithium Inc.
Piedmont Lithium Inc. f/k/a Piedmonth LIthium Limited (“Piedmont” or the “Company”) engages in the exploration and development of resource projects. Piedmont primarily holds a 100% interest in a lithium project covering 2,322 acres in the North Carolina. On May 17, 2021, in connection with Piedmont’s redomiciliation from Australia to the United States, Piedmont’s American Depositary Share (“ADS”) holders received one share of Piedmont common stock for each ADS.
On March 16, 2018, Piedmont filed a Registration Statement on a Form 20-F. On June 14, 2018, Piedmont issued a press release entitled “PIEDMONT LITHIUM ANNOUNCES MAIDEN MINERAL RESOURCE” which stated, in part, its “strategy of building an integrated lithium processing business based on proven, conventional technologies and benefitting from the inherent advantages of Piedmont’s strategic North Carolina location, including; … [s]trong local government support.” Throughout the Class Period, Piedmont informed investors regarding its plan for completing necessary permitting and zoning activities required to commence mining and processing operations in North Carolina.
The truth began to emerge on July 20, 2021. Before market hours, Reuters published an article entitled “In push to supply Tesla, Piedmont Lithium irks North Carolina neighbors” which reported the following, in pertinent part, regarding Piedmont’s regulatory issues in North Carolina: (1) Piedmont had not applied for a state mining permit or a necessary zoning variance in Gaston County, just west of Charlotte, despite telling investors since 2018 that it was on the verge of doing so; (2) five of the seven members of the county’s board of commissioners, who control zoning changes, said they may block or delay the project; and (3) Piedmont had been set to meet with commissioners in March, but canceled with three days’ notice, further straining the relationship.
Following this news, Piedmont shares fell $12.56 per share over the trading day, or nearly 20%, to close at $50.52 per share on July 20, 2021.
A securities class action has been filed against Piedmont on behalf of shareholders that purchased Piedmont shares between March 16, 2018 through July 19, 2021. This case has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
The complaint filed alleges that throughout the Class Period, Defendants made materially false and/or misleading statements, as well as failed to disclose material adverse facts about the Company’s business, operations, and prospects. Specifically, Defendants failed to disclose to investors that: (1) Piedmont had not, and would not, follow its stated steps or timeline to secure all proper and necessary permits; (2) Piedmont failed to inform relevant people and governmental authorities of its actual plans; (3) Piedmont failed to file proper applications with relevant governmental authorities (including state and local authorities); (4) Piedmont and its lithium business did not have “strong local government support”; and (5) as a result, the defendants’ public statements were materially false and/or misleading at all relevant times.
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