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Tesla is planning to build its own lithium refinery in the US


Tesla is considering building a lithium refinery in Texas, according to an application with local officials. If the facility is approved, construction would begin in the fourth quarter of this year and be operational by the end of 2024. But Tesla also has an alternative in mind.

However, a potential refinery in Texas should not be next to Giga Texas in Austin, but should be built on the US state’s Gulf Coast. The location is Robstown near Corpus Christi. Details on the schedule or processing capacity are unknown, but the number of employees: In the filing, Tesla says ten “new qualified jobs” and 152 “new non-qualified jobs” will be created.

The lithium ore delivered by ship will be processed into battery-grade lithium hydroxide at Robstown. Later, other battery materials must be refined on site. Thanks to “innovative processes”, it is said that, on the one hand, less hazardous materials are required and, on the other hand, more usable by-products should be produced, compared to “conventional processes”.

The application mentions a total investment of 365 million dollars (359 million euros), most of which is still to be paid in 2022 – if the decision is taken in favor of Robstown. It still depends on the obligations for the tax benefits that are applied now. Tesla says any location with access to the Gulf Coast is suitable to boost pressure. In particular, a site in the neighboring state of Louisiana is being investigated.

Due to rising raw material prices, Tesla has in the past toyed with entering the supply chain for critical battery materials, both in mining and refining the materials. With Elon Musk describing the lithium refinery on Twitter as a “license to print money,” the build has now been picked up in several reports on the Texas projects, given the high EV demand.

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Tesla buys lithium for its batteries from mines. In the spring of 2022, the company had two important contracts with Australian mine operators, notably from lithium spodumene concentrate. Cor And Liontown Resources. Additionally, Tesla Lithium hydroxide from Confeng.

Meanwhile, there is a change in management at the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada. According to a report by CNBC, former factory boss Chris Lister left the company over the summer. His successor, Hrushikesh Sagar, will manage Tesla’s car plant in Fremont, California, in addition to the Gigafactory in Nevada.
handelsblatt.com, teslamag.de, texas.gov (all three Texas applications), cnbc.com (Nevada Staff)