Tesla’s plans to build a lithium refinery in Texas are now official. Tesla’s plan to build a lithium refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, is now official. At this location, it will package and ship battery-grade lithium hydroxide for its 4680 battery cells.
Plans for Tesla to build a lithium refinery on the Gulf Coast of Texas are moving forward. CEO Elon Musk confirmed the move on the Q3 2022 Earnings Call on Wednesday, in response to an analyst’s question about how the company’s new 4680 battery cell technology is coming along.
“Yes. We’re also making a refinery for lithium,” he said. Another company executive said that the location is in Corpus Christi, Nueces County. This area had been thought to be a possible location up until now, but Tesla had not confirmed it.
The company thought about the project for a few months. It was known that Tesla was also thinking about a site in Louisiana in addition to the one in Texas that was named. The company has told the state government that it wants to build a plant near Corpus Christi to process raw ore into battery-grade lithium hydroxide. At this facility, it would package and ship battery-grade lithium hydroxide to “various Tesla battery manufacturing sites supporting the necessary supply chain for large-scale and electric vehicle batteries,” according to an application it sent to the Robstown Independent School District as part of the state’s Chapter 313 tax incentive program.
This plant will be the first of its kind in North America. In addition to lithium hydroxide, it will be able to process and refine other materials used in batteries. As was said before, early construction could start in the fourth quarter of 2022. Based on what Musk said during the Earnings Call, the company has already started. The business could start in the fourth quarter of 2024.
To build the factory, Tesla plans to spend $375 million. In the next two years, up to 250 jobs will be made during the building phase. For the factory to keep running, it will need 162 permanent jobs. Ten of these jobs will pay $81,000 a year with benefits, while the rest will pay about $53,000 a year, which is close to the regional average, but will not come with benefits.
In recent years, the price of lithium has gone up a lot, even though the earth has a lot of it. Musk has told entrepreneurs more than once that they should start recycling lithium so that there are no more shortages of a key material used in lithium-ion batteries. Obviously, the industry hasn’t grown as fast as it needs to, and if they don’t start mining lithium now, they won’t have enough materials in a few years, which will stop them from making as many batteries as they need to.