Tesla evaluating lithium refinery in Texas for electric car batteries

Elon Musk had beforehand recommended Tesla might get into lithium refining at scale as a result of the price of the steel, a key part in manufacturing batteries, has surged. If Tesla’s utility in Texas is accepted, development on a lithium hydroxide refining facility might start in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Christophe Gateau | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

Electric car large Tesla is evaluating the feasibility of a lithium hydroxide refining facility on the gulf coast of Texas.

Tesla mentioned the plant could be centered on the event of “battery-grade lithium hydroxide” and be “the first of its kind in North America,” based on a newly launched letter to the Texas Comptroller’s Office.

The firm would course of “raw ore material into a usable state for battery production” then ship the lithium hydroxide to varied Tesla battery manufacturing factories, the applying mentioned.

In April, Tesla CEO Elon Musk mentioned the corporate might have to get into lithium refining as a result of the price of the steel had “gone to insane levels.”

The value of lithium is up 120% this yr, based on an monitoring index from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

Tesla’s transfer can be seemingly a bid to diversify the provision of its lithium and battery manufacturing. China controls greater than half of the world’s lithium processing and refining, and the United States simply 1%.

As a part of the applying to Texas, the corporate mentioned additionally it is contemplating “other battery materials processing, refining and manufacturing and ancillary manufacturing operations in support of Tesla’s sustainable product line.”

If Tesla’s utility is accepted, development might start in the fourth quarter of 2022, the corporate mentioned. The undertaking will attain “commercial operations” by the fourth quarter of 2024.

Tesla mentioned that it’s nonetheless “evaluating the feasibility of this project” and “only very preliminary development activities have begun.”

No engineering, development or procurement development contracts have been negotiated or signed and no regulatory permits have been obtained, Tesla mentioned.

Musk’s agency mentioned the undertaking might be situated “anywhere with access to the Gulf Coast shipping channel.” Tesla mentioned it’s evaluating a competing website in Louisiana.

Tesla mentioned the one manner this undertaking will likely be viable is that if Texas offers it tax breaks underneath its regulation.

“In the case of the investment on this proposed project in Texas, the decision will be based on a number of commercial and financial considerations, including the ability to obtain relief regarding local property taxes,” based on the applying.

Lithium is a crucial steel for batteries that go into every little thing from electric 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 reduce off crucial provides of lithium and different supplies.

The U.S. is trying to ramp up its personal uncommon earth refining and mining trade to meet up with China.

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