Elon Musk had beforehand recommended Tesla may get into lithium refining at scale as a result of the price of the steel, a key element in manufacturing batteries, has surged. If Tesla’s software in Texas is authorized, development on a lithium hydroxide refining facility may start within the fourth quarter of 2022.
Christophe Gateau | Image Alliance | Getty Pictures
Electrical automobile large Tesla is evaluating the feasibility of a lithium hydroxide refining facility on the gulf coast of Texas.
Tesla stated the plant could be targeted on the event of “battery-grade lithium hydroxide” and be “the primary of its form 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 varied Tesla battery manufacturing factories, the applying stated.
In April, Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated the corporate could must get into lithium refining as a result of the price of the steel had “gone to insane ranges.”
The worth of lithium is up 120% this 12 months, based on a monitoring index from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.
Tesla’s transfer can be possible a bid to diversify the availability of its lithium and battery manufacturing. China controls greater than half of the world’s lithium processing and refining, and america simply 1%.
As a part of the applying to Texas, the corporate stated additionally it is contemplating “different battery supplies processing, refining and manufacturing and ancillary manufacturing operations in help of Tesla’s sustainable product line.”
If Tesla’s software is authorized, development may 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 may very well be situated “anyplace 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 offers it tax breaks below its regulation.
“Within the case of the funding on this proposed venture in Texas, the choice can be based mostly on plenty of industrial and monetary concerns, together with the flexibility to acquire aid relating to native property taxes,” based on the applying.
Lithium is a essential steel for batteries that go into every thing 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 may minimize off essential provides of lithium and different supplies.
The US is seeking to ramp up its personal uncommon earth refining and mining business to meet up with China.
This is the letter: