Tesla officially broke ground at its lithium refinery near Corpus Christi, Texas yesterday, at an event where the company’s CEO Elon Musk arrived in an accessorized Cybertruck.
Making his appearance in the all-electric pickup truck fitted with a roof and tools rack which has never been seen before, adorned with the flags of the United States of America and the state of Texas, Musk began the presentation (embedded above) by saying:
“We’re incredibly excited to announce one of the biggest lithium refineries in the world, at a location [where] we expect to produce lithium for about a million vehicles, and produce more battery-grade lithium than the rest of North America’s refinery capacity combined.”
We first learned about Tesla’s intentions on the battery-grade lithium facility back in 2020, when Benchmark Mineral Intelligence revealed a deal between the American EV maker and Piedmont Lithium. That same year, during Tesla’s Battery Day Event, the automaker announced that it was going into the mining business by buying lithium claims on 10,000 acres in the state of Nevada.
Things progressed, and in September of last year, rumors said that construction would begin by the end of 2022, which didn’t happen until yesterday when the EV brand officially broke ground on what Elon Musk previously described as “a license to print money:”
“So it is basically like minting money right now. There’s like software margins in lithium processing right now. So I would really like to encourage, once again, entrepreneurs to enter the lithium refining business. You can’t lose. It’s a license to print money,” Musk said last year.
The American car manufacturer and occasional beer-selling enterprise updated the timeline for the lithium refinery, estimating that it will finish construction next year and achieve production in 2025.
During the presentation, Tesla's representatives didn’t reveal too many details about the new facility but said that the technology used for the refining process cuts several steps compared to traditional facilities and that it reduces waste.
Additionally, the company plans on importing lithium ore and using lithium from recycled batteries, reducing the environmental impact even further.
Tesla’s lithium refinery near Corpus Christi, Texas will cost around $365 million and will employ about 165 people full-time plus another 250 construction workers for approximately two years. We previously reported on the first job postings in January, when Tesla was looking for an Area Superintendent, Project Scheduler, and Area Construction Manager, among others.
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