RTL Today – Battery materials: Tesla plans to build lithium refinery in Texas

US electric car maker Tesla is studying the possibility of building a lithium refinery in Texas and is seeking state tax breaks to complete the project, according to documents released Friday.

While the project is still in the feasibility stage, Tesla said the Gulf Coast plant would be the first of its kind in North America, producing a vital component for batteries used in the booming market. growth of electric vehicles.

In a request sent to the Texas Comptroller in late August and made public on Friday, Tesla said the plant “will process raw ore into a usable state for battery production.”

The finished product, battery-grade lithium hydroxide, would be shipped by road and rail to various Tesla battery factories across the country.

Construction could begin by the end of the year with production by the end of 2024.

The company run by billionaire Elon Musk stressed that “Tesla is still evaluating the feasibility of this project” which is in a “very preliminary” phase, so no contract has been signed and no permit has been issued for construction. .

The decision to move forward “will be based on a number of business and financial considerations, including the possibility of obtaining relief from local property taxes,” the document said.

The cost of the project has not been quantified.

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

The project proposed by Tesla comes amid soaring lithium prices due to high demand for this component, essential for the manufacture of electric batteries.

Musk complained about rising costs in a tweet in April and hinted at the possibility of moving into production.

“The price of lithium has reached insane levels! Tesla may in fact have to go straight to large-scale mining and refining unless costs improve,” he tweeted.

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.