Albemarle Corp is planning to build a major lithium processing plant in the United States that would produce as much of the battery metal as the entire company produces today, according to a report from Reuters.
At the Fastmarkets Lithium Supply and Battery Raw Materials conference in Phoenix, Arizona, Eric Norris, head of Albemarle’s lithium division, said the company aims to build a processing plant with 100,000 tonnes of annual capacity in the US Southeast somewhere within rail access of a major port.
Albemarle is in active discussions with automakers on buying supply from the facility, Norris said. Albemarle already supplies Tesla as well as several other major automakers.
Norris said the US plant will be key as the company aims to boost its overall lithium production capacity fivefold to 500,000 tonnes annually by 2030.
The US plant would be of a similar design to a processing plant Albemarle recently opened in Kemerton, Western Australia. The plant would be supplied from lithium extracted from the company’s Kings Mountain mine in North Carolina, which is currently mothballed but may reopen as soon as 2027. (Earlier post.)