Tesla to Build a Lithium Refining Facility in Texas
The company is planning to build a battery-grade lithium hydroxide refinery in Texas and hopes to have the facility operational by 2024. It is looking for a site near the Gulf Coast with access to a shipping channel. The company […]
The company is planning to build a battery-grade lithium hydroxide refinery in Texas and hopes to have the facility operational by 2024. It is looking for a site near the Gulf Coast with access to a shipping channel. The company is currently evaluating sites in Louisiana and Texas. Construction of one of these sites could begin as early as the fourth quarter of this year, and commercial operations could begin as early as 2024.
The move comes amid a boom in the price of lithium, which has soared 400 percent in the past two years. The move by Tesla is seen as a sign of vertical integration for the EV maker, and could help other lithium-based battery manufacturers. The company’s CEO, Elon Musk, has urged other EV makers to build similar facilities.
Lithium mining in South America is the biggest source of the metal, with Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina accounting for about 85% of global lithium reserves. China, on the other hand, controls 75% of the raw metal. As such, Tesla may be able to take advantage of huge government incentives and secure a reliable supply of the material.
Although it is unclear when the company will begin construction, the company is prepared to invest up to $365 million to build a lithium refinery in Texas. The company expects to create a minimum of 162 full-time jobs and 250 temporary construction jobs by 2025. Those positions would make $52,500 per year.
The company hopes to start construction on its battery factory in 2022 and be ready for commercial production by 2024. The facility would be the first lithium refinery in North America and could begin commercial operations as early as 2024. The plant will process lithium ore and ship lithium hydroxide to Tesla factories. Moreover, it will use innovative processes to reduce the amount of hazardous reagents and create usable byproducts. The company is also trying to diversify its sources of lithium, which has surged in price.
Tesla is evaluating its feasibility before deciding on the location of the project. The company is looking at a number of sites in Louisiana as well as Nueces County in Texas. The location of the refinery will depend on whether it can access the Gulf Coast shipping channel. It is not the only company in the industry that prioritizes access to lithium.
With the rising cost of lithium and the geopolitical situation, car makers want to control their supply of lithium. If the supply of the metal becomes erratic, it could affect the electric vehicle industry. This is why companies like Tesla are looking for a lithium refinery in Texas or Louisiana. Further, they are looking for incentives from the U.S. government to help them expand their operations. The new facility could be up and running by 2024.
Other companies in the lithium business are already investing in such facilities. Tesla signed a five-year supply deal with Liontown Resources earlier this year, and has also invested in a lithium miner in Australia. BYD and Stellantis have also invested in lithium mining companies.