Albemarle plans major U.S. lithium processing plant - Reuters

Jun. 27, 2022 3:53 PM ETAlbemarle Corporation (ALB)By: Carl Surran, SA News Editor2 Comments

Lithium concept

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Albemarle (NYSE:ALB) said on Monday it plans to build a lithium processing plant in the U.S. that would produce as much of the metal as the entire company produces today, Reuters reports.

Albemarle (ALB) plans a plant with capacity of 100K metric tons/year, according to Eric Norris, head of the company's lithium division, told the Fastmarkets Lithium Supply and Battery Raw Materials conference in Phoenix, Arizona, although he did not offer an estimate for the facility's cost or final location.

The company has seen a major shift in the last nine months in the U.S., with an "unprecedented" number of electric vehicle manufacturing plants announced, which should spark a surge in lithium demand, Norris reportedly said.

The U.S. plant would be of a similar design to a processing plant Albemarle (ALB) recently opened in Kemerton, Western Australia, although it would need to cost less than Kemerton, whose costs ballooned far above its initial target of $1.2B, Norris said.

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.

The Kings Mountain facility likely would compete with a nearby planned lithium mine and processing complex from Piedmont Lithium, which has faced regulatory and local pushback.

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