Tesla enters the lithium refinery business and has already selected one site in the US. According to Tesla's Senior Global Director, the company is additionally considering sites in Louisiana, US, and in Canada.
Tesla has the plan to grow its production capacity very quickly and is on track to produce 20 million vehicles a year by 2030. However, in order for the plan to be possible, the company needs the metals for the production of batteries. In 2020, Tesla entered the battery business. Although the company has short-term contracts to supply the materials needed to make batteries, in a few years the entire industry will face shortages, as mining is not ramping up as fast as the industry needs.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has repeatedly urged miners to expand the production of lithium, which is a key metal for the production of lithium-ion batteries and the production of electric vehicles. “I’d like to once again urge entrepreneurs to enter the lithium refining business. The mining is relatively easy, the refining is much harder,” he said on Tesla’s Q2 2022 earnings call in July. “You can't lose, it's a license to print money.”
Ultimately, to prevent future shortages of lithium, Tesla also decided to enter the lithium business. It did not come as much of a surprise, as in 2020, during Battery Day, Musk announced that the company would do it. After that, Tesla filed several patents for the method of refining lithium.
In September 2022 it became known that the manufacturer is considering building a lithium refinery on the Gulf Coast of Texas. During the Q3 2022 Earnings Call, Musk confirmed the plan: “Yes. We're also building lithium refinery,” he said. Another company executive said the location is in Corpus Christi, Nueces County, which had been considered a potential location, with no official confirmation from Tesla.
At Corpus Christi, Tesla has already made significant progress, and on December 5, the project was approved for local tax incentives from the Robstown Independent School District. In addition to this positive news, more information has become known. During his speech at the meeting, Tesla's Senior Global Director Rohan Patel said the manufacturer, in addition to the Nueces County location, is considering sites in Louisiana and Canada for the lithium refinery, according to Caller-Times. The company expects to select a location in the coming weeks. Tesla representatives declined any other comments.
Building a lithium refinery in Canada might make sense. The manufacturer's recent activity in the country, which included hiring for some key positions, hinted at this. In addition, according to recent information received by Drive Tesla, Tesla is already close to signing a deal to establish a facility in the region north of Toronto, Ontario. Although its purpose remains unknown, there is a high probability that it will be associated with the lithium refinery.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.