Albemarle to invest $1.3B in South Carolina lithium processing facility

Dive Brief:

  • Chemical manufacturer Albemarle will invest $1.3 billion to establish a lithium hydroxide processing facility in Chester County, South Carolina, according to a March 22 press release.
  • The facility would produce nearly 50,000 metric tons of battery-grade lithium hydroxide a year, enough to support 2.4 million EVs.
  • Albemarle is establishing the facility to help meet soaring demand for lithium-ion batteries. Like other recently announced domestic battery plants, the site will also help more EV companies to source from U.S.-based material makers to qualify for incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act.

Dive Insight:

The company says the facility will create 300 jobs with an average yearly wage of $93,000. In addition, the project will create over 1,500 construction jobs, with work expected to begin in late 2024.

Albemarle chose Chester County as the home of its new plant given its strategic geographic location, according to CEO Kent Masters.

“We wanted a location that had access to nearby rail and port transportation and the availability of skilled workers,” Masters said. “We also had an opportunity to be closer to our customers as the supply chain is built out in North America.”

The company acquired roughly 800 acres for its production campus, with the planned facility set to occupy roughly 25% of that space.

South Carolina’s Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved a $9 million grant for Chester County to fund site preparation, migration and infrastructure improvements related to the project, according to a state press release.

This isn’t Albemarle’s only project in the works. In December, the company announced it was investing $180 million to build a technology park in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the company is based.

Albemarle joins a long list of EV-related manufacturers building facilities in South Carolina.

Battery recycler Redwood Materials is currently building a $3.5 billion battery materials facility in Charleston, while Volkswagen-backed Scout Motors is constructing a $2 billion EV factory near Columbia. Finally, semiconductor parts maker Pallidus is moving its headquarters and manufacturing operations from New York to South Carolina.

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