Elon Musk had beforehand steered Tesla might get into lithium refining at scale as a result of the price of the metallic, a key element in manufacturing batteries, has surged. If Tesla’s software in Texas is authorized, development on a lithium hydroxide refining facility might start within the fourth quarter of 2022.
Christophe Gateau | Image Alliance | Getty Pictures
Electrical automotive large Tesla is evaluating the feasibility of a lithium hydroxide refining facility on the gulf coast of Texas.
Tesla stated the plant can be centered on the event of “battery-grade lithium hydroxide” and be “the primary of its variety in North America,” based on a newly launched letter to the Texas Comptroller’s Workplace.
The corporate would course of “uncooked ore materials right into a usable state for battery manufacturing” then ship the lithium hydroxide to numerous Tesla battery manufacturing factories, the applying stated.
In April, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company may need to get into lithium refining as a result of the price of the metallic had “gone to insane ranges.”
The value of lithium is up 120% this yr, based on an monitoring index from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.
Tesla’s transfer can also be probably a bid to diversify the provision of its lithium and battery manufacturing. China controls more than half of the world’s lithium processing and refining, and the US simply 1%.
As a part of the applying to Texas, the corporate stated it’s also contemplating “different battery supplies processing, refining and manufacturing and ancillary manufacturing operations in assist of Tesla’s sustainable product line.”
If Tesla’s software is authorized, development might start within the fourth quarter of 2022, the corporate stated. The venture will attain “industrial operations” by the fourth quarter of 2024.
Tesla stated that it’s nonetheless “evaluating the feasibility of this venture” and “solely very preliminary improvement actions have begun.”
No engineering, development or procurement development contracts have been negotiated or signed and no regulatory permits have been obtained, Tesla stated.
Musk’s agency stated the venture might be positioned “wherever with entry to the Gulf Coast delivery channel.” Tesla stated it’s evaluating a competing web site in Louisiana.
Tesla stated the one manner this venture can be viable is that if Texas provides it tax breaks underneath its regulation.
“Within the case of the funding on this proposed venture in Texas, the choice can be primarily based on various industrial and monetary concerns, together with the power to acquire aid relating to native property taxes,” based on the applying.
Lithium is a important metallic for batteries that go into every part from electrical automobiles from smartphones. Given the strategic significance of such uncommon earth metals and China’s mining dominance of them, there was concern from Washington that Beijing might minimize off important provides of lithium and different supplies.
The U.S. is seeking to ramp up its own rare earth refining and mining industry to meet up with China.