Tesla plans to build a lithium refinery in Texas

Tesla plans to build a lithium refinery in Texas


In an application sent to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts at the end of August and made public on Friday, Tesla said it wanted to “convert raw ore into battery production”. (Photo: 123RF)

New York – US electric car maker Tesla plans to build a lithium refinery on the Texas Gulf Coast and is seeking tax breaks to complete the project.

In an application sent to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts at the end of August and made public on Friday, Tesla said it wanted to “convert raw ore into battery production”.

The finished product, battery-grade lithium hydroxide, will be shipped by road and rail to various Tesla battery manufacturing sites in the United States.

If it sees the light of day, this factory will be, according to Tesla, the first of its kind in North America.

Its construction may start in the last quarter of 2022 and commercial operations will start there from the end of 2024.

The group led by Elon Musk, however, notes that it is “assessing the feasibility of the project”, which is currently at an early stage, no construction or engineering contract has been negotiated and no permit has been issued.

Tesla is also studying the possibility of building a similar site in the state of Louisiana as an alternative.

The possible cost of the project has not been calculated, but the automaker has indicated that an important condition for its implementation is to provide tax benefits with Texas, in particular “the possibility of obtaining local property tax reductions”.

Tesla’s project comes amid rising lithium prices due to high demand for this material, which is essential for making electric batteries.

In April, Mr. Musk wrote on Twitter that Tesla “may have to go straight into massive mining and refining unless prices improve.”

China, Australia, Chile and Argentina, where the world’s largest lithium resources are located, dominate the market for the production and exploitation of this highly coveted mineral.