>>> Battery Boom: $154B invested, 166K jobs planned in US as EV rollout intensifies
Spending from the IRA, Bipartisan Infrastructure Act has fueled EV investments
by Pras Subramanian
September 6, 2023
New data shows the massive impact the electric vehicle buildout is already making on manufacturing and infrastructure spending in America — so far a big win for the Biden administration.
Catalyzed by legislation like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), data from the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation — a progressive nonprofit organization that promotes clean energy investment and solutions to environmental issues — found that EV investment in factories and battery facilities totaled $154 billion since 2010, across 319 facilities. That will add up to 188,000 new jobs when all spending is complete.
The vast majority of this spending came after 2021, when the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act was signed, and in 2022 and 2023 following passage of the IRA. Of the $154 billion of spending announced, $124 billion has come since the start of 2021.
“The EV transition is impacting every aspect of the economy, including the manufacturing of EVs and the EV supply chain,” Tom Taylor, Atlas Public Policy senior policy analyst, said in a statement. Atlas Public Policy co-sponsored the data initiative, dubbed the EV Jobs Hub, with the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation. “The [data] seeks to cut through the noise from large announcements and organize it in a more digestible way,” Taylor said.
Drilling deeper into the data, the organization finds that South Korean electronics and battery giant LG plans to spend the most here in the US ($17.2B), followed by Tesla (TSLA) ($15.7B), GM (GM) ($15.5B), Ford (F) ($11.9B), and SK Innovation ($10.3B), another South Korean company focused on batteries. In terms of industry, battery manufacturing counts for 65% of all spending, the study finds.
The data isn't all rosy, however, as on the labor front the companies that spend the most don’t always hire the most. As seen in EV battery and powertrain manufacturing, fewer workers are needed to do the job. This has led to deep concern on the part of the United Auto Workers (UAW) — currently negotiating with the Big Three (Ford, GM, and Stellantis) on a new labor deal — with job protection in the form of higher wages and ending of tiered employment on the top of the union’s wish list as the EV transition rolls out across North America.
“The UAW supports and is ready for the transition to a clean auto industry. But the EV transition must be a just transition that ensures auto workers have a place in the new economy,” UAW president Shawn Fain said in a statement in late August.
Of the companies hiring the most in the EV space since 2010, Tesla leads the pack with 28,500 announced hires, followed by Ford (13,800), Rivian (RIVN) (13,700), LG (11,300), and Hyundai (11,100). Only Ford and LG (at joint GM/LG Ultium battery plants) use unionized labor.
Indeed, of the facilities built since 2010, only 25% are represented by unionized labor, which is a concern for the White House and Democratic legislators.
The stakes couldn’t be higher for the automakers as well as politicians looking to tout the EV buildout. GM’s head of manufacturing said in a video statement on Tuesday that UAW demands would threaten the automaker’s “manufacturing momentum.” It would also threaten one of the bigger manufacturing wins the US has seen in the last 50 years.
Re-post - >>> Opened position in Power Metals Corp. Their Case Lake property has tremendous potential reserves of lithium, cesium and tantalum. As an exploration phase miner it's early, but the promising results so far, mining friendly jurisdiction coupled with a readily available existing infrastructure (electricity, roads....) make them a great prospect. Looking at Power Metal and Patriot Battery, I picked Power Metal, believe they have as good or better long term prospects.
>>> Power Metals Corp. (PWRMF), an exploration company, engages in the acquisition, exploration, and evaluation of resource properties in Canada. The company primarily explores for lithium, cesium, and tantalum metal deposits. It holds a 100% interest in the Case Lake property that consists of 475 cell claims located in Ontario. The company also has an option agreement to acquire 100% interests in the Paterson Lake property consisting of 106 cell claims located in northwestern Ontario; and holds Gullwing-Tot Lake property that consists of 112 cell claims located in northwestern Ontario. The company was formerly known as Aldrin Resource Corp. and changed its name to Power Metals Corp. in December 2016. Power Metals Corp. was incorporated in 2005 and is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.
>>> Texas Must Upgrade Its Energy Grid To Accommodate New Renewable Power
by Charles Kennedy
Jul 14, 2023
Texas needs upgrades to its electricity transmission grid to accommodate a soaring share of renewable energy generation, otherwise the state risks surging shares of curtailments of wind and solar power generation by 2035, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said this week.
Texas ranks first in the United States in terms of installed wind energy capacity and second in solar capacity and storage. Wind energy alone produces 21% of all electricity in the state, according to the American Clean Power Association.
Per EIA’s estimates, the combined wind and solar generating capacity in Texas’s power market is set to double by 2035, fueling a growing renewable share of total generation.
But without grid upgrades, curtailments of wind and solar generation will also soar, the administration said in a recent report discussing the transmission limits on renewables growth in Texas.
Since grid operators must maintain a continuous balance between supply and demand to assure power system reliability, in case more wind and solar power is available for production than the grid can use, grid operators have to curtail wind and solar generation to keep the grid balanced.
Last year, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) curtailed 5% of its total available wind generation and 9% of total available utility-scale solar generation. If grid upgrades are not made, those curtailments could surge to 13% of total available wind generation, and 19% of solar generation by 2035, the EIA said.
ERCOT currently has the most renewable generation in the country due to significant wind resources and focused investment in the electric transmission system, the administration said in its analysis.
“Without expanding ERCOT’s electrical transmission network and storage capacity, congestion and curtailments will rise,” the EIA said, adding that the strong projected growth in renewable energy in ERCOT over the next decade could be constrained by transmission capacity.
>>> Threatened by shortages, electric car makers race for supplies of lithium for batteries
by JOE McDONALD
June 27, 2023
BEIJING (AP) — Threatened by possible shortages of lithium for electric car batteries, automakers are racing to lock in supplies of the once-obscure “white gold” in a politically and environmentally fraught competition from China to Nevada to Chile.
General Motors Co. and the parent company of China’s BYD Auto Ltd. went straight to the source and bought stakes in lithium miners, a rare step in an industry that relies on outside vendors for copper and other raw materials. Others are investing in lithium refining or ventures to recycle the silvery-white metal from used batteries.
A shortfall in lithium supplies would be an obstacle for government and industry plans to ramp up sales to tens of millions of electric vehicles a year. It is fueling political conflict over resources and complaints about the environmental cost of extracting them.
"We already have that risk” of not being able to get enough, said GM's chief financial officer, Paul A. Jacobson, at a Deutsche Bank conference in mid-June.
“We’ve got to have partnerships with people that can get us the lithium in the form that we need," Jacobson said.
Ford Motor Co. has signed contracts stretching up to 11 years into the future with lithium suppliers on two continents. Volkswagen AG and Honda Motor Co. are trying to reduce their need for freshly mined ore by forming recycling ventures.
Global lithium output is on track to triple this decade, but sales of electric SUVs, sports cars and sedans that rose 55% last year threaten to outrun that. Each battery requires about eight kilograms (17 pounds) of lithium, plus cobalt, nickel and other metals.
“There will be a shortage of EV battery supplies,” said Joshua Cobb, senior auto analyst for BMI.
Adding to uncertainty, lithium has emerged as another conflict in strained U.S.-Chinese relations.
Beijing, Washington and other governments see metal supplies for electric vehicles as a strategic issue and are tightening controls on access. Canada ordered three Chinese companies last year to sell lithium mining assets on security grounds.
Other governments including Indonesia, Chile and Zimbabwe are trying to maximize their return on deposits of lithium, cobalt and nickel by requiring miners to invest in refining and processing before they can export.
GM is buying direct access to lithium by investing $650 million in the Canadian developer of a Nevada mine that is the biggest U.S. source. In return, GM says it will get enough for 1 million vehicles a year.
Conservationists and American Indians are asking a federal court to block development of the Nevada mine, which the Biden administration has embraced as part of its clean energy agenda. Opponents say it might poison water supplies and soil and pollute nesting grounds for birds.
“Securing metals must not come at a sacrifice to the environment,” said a U.S. group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a report last year.
BYD Auto’s parent company, battery maker BYD Co., has announced more than $5 billion in investments in lithium mining and refining over the past 18 months.
Most are in China, but BYD also is promising to spend $290 million on a processing facility in Chile, one of the biggest lithium producers. In exchange, BYD is allowed to buy lithium from Chilean miners at a discount.
At home, BYD announced last year it would invest 28.5 billion yuan ($4.2 billion) in a venture to produce 100,000 tons of lithium carbonate a year in the eastern city of Yichun.
Another Chinese automaker, NIO Inc., bought 12% of Australian lithium miner Greenwing Resources Ltd. last year for 12 million Australian dollars ($8.1 million).
Despite rising output, the industry may face shortages of lithium and cobalt as early as 2025 if enough isn’t invested in production, according to Leonardo Paoli and Timur Gul of the International Energy Agency.
“Supply side bottlenecks are becoming a real challenge," said Paoli and Gul in a report last year.
Automakers might be putting in their own money to reassure “notoriously risk-averse” miners, according to Alastair Bedwell of GlobalData. He said miners are reluctant to “go all out” on lithium until they are sure the industry won't switch to batteries made with other metals.
Even if they do, developing lithium sources is a yearslong process.
Mines that came online in 2010-19 took on average more than 16 years from discovery to the start of production, according to Paoli and Gul of the IEA.
“These long lead times raise questions about the ability of supply to ramp up,” they wrote.
Investment by automakers might “help to remove some of their partners’ risk and ultimately create more production,” Bedwell said in an email.
Worldwide lithium resources are estimated at 80 million tons by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Bolivia’s are the biggest at 21 millions tons, followed by Australia with 17 million and Chile with 9 million. China has 4.5 million tons of known reserves and the United States has 1 million.
Forecasts of annual global production range as high as 1.5 million tons by 2030. But demand, if EV sales keep rising at double-digit annual rates, is forecast to increase to up to 3 million tons.
Sales of battery-powered and gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles took off in 2021, more than doubling over the previous year to 6.8 million, according to EV Volumes, a research firm. Last year's sales rose to 10.5 million.
China accounted for 60% of last year's sales, two-thirds of production and three-quarters of battery manufacturing.
Ford plans to sell 2 million EVs a year by 2026. GM, with 2022 sales of 3.6 million cars, has plans for 30 electric models and North American production capacity of 1 million two years from now in 2025.
Toyota Motor Co.’s annual target is 3.5 million by 2030. VW, which sold 4.6 million cars worldwide last year, is aiming for 70% of sales in Europe and 50% in China and the United States to be electric by 2030.
President Joe Biden last year announced an official goal for half of all new cars sold in the United State to be electric or other zero-emissions technology by 2030.
As sales rise, so does government unease, especially in Washington and Beijing, about access to lithium and other minerals and the potential for strategic competition.
Volkswagen’s battery unit, PowerCo, signed an agreement with Canada last August to develop suppliers of “critical raw materials” including lithium, cobalt and nickel.
The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, in a statement welcomed cooperation with “close friends” on “raw material security.”
Last year, Canada imposed limits on foreign involvement in production of lithium and other “critical minerals” for batteries and other high-tech products.
China’s government has accused the United States, Canada, Japan and other governments of misusing phony security concerns to hurt Chinese competitors in electric cars, smartphones, clean energy and other emerging technologies.
Other governments welcome Chinese investment.
China’s biggest lithium producer, Ganfeng Lithium Co., bought Argentina’s Lithea Inc. last year for $962 million. In 2021, Ganfeng bought Mexico’s Bacanora Lithium for $391 million. It is developing a project in the northern region of Sonora with planned annual output of 35,000 tons.
China's Tianqi Lithium Inc. owns 23.8% of Chile's dominant producer, Sociedad Quimicay Minera, or SQM.
About two-thirds of the world’s lithium comes from mines. That involves crushing rock and using acids to extract metals. It leaves toxic heaps of chemical-laced tailings.
The rest is extracted from salt lakes or from salt flats called salars in Chile and Bolivia. That can require vast evaporation ponds.
The industry is working on technology to extract lithium from hot springs, lakes and clay deposits with less environmental impact.
VW has a five-year supply contract with Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd., which plans to produce lithium hydroxide from geothermal brine in Germany’s Rhine Valley.
Vulcan says its process uses no fossil fuels. That is a response to complaints EVs do little to reduce overall carbon emissions because energy for their manufacturing and charging usually comes from coal, gas and oil.
As they ramp up supplies, automakers face another bottleneck: Lack of refining capacity to purify raw lithium into battery material.
Tesla Inc. broke ground in Texas last month for a lithium refinery that CEO Elon Musk should produce enough for 1 million vehicles per year by 2025.
“The choke point is much more on refining capacity than it is on mining,” said Musk in an April conference call with reporters.
Other manufacturers including BMW AG, which aims to make at least half its sales fully electric by 2030, are buying stakes in lithium refiners.
As for GM, “I don’t know” whether it will build its own refinery, Jacobson said.
“Where I can help fund some expansion in exchange for guaranteed supply, that’s a good thing,” he said. “We should be open to doing that.”
Smaller brands without their own lithium supply might be squeezed, according to Bedwell. He said they might be forced to pay more, which might threaten the existence of some.
“Certainly, mass-market players who don’t get their lithium strategy right will be at a disadvantage,” said Bedwell.
>>> Ford, SK joint venture set to receive $9.2 billion US government loan for battery plants
By David Shepardson
June 22, 2023
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Energy Department on Thursday said it intends to loan a joint venture of Ford Motor and South Korean battery maker SK On up to $9.2 billion to help finance construction of three new battery manufacturing plants in Tennessee and Kentucky.
The conditional commitment for the low-cost government loan for the Blue Oval SK joint venture comes from the government's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program. SK On is a unit of South Korea's SK Innovation. The joint venture is building three battery manufacturing facilities in Kentucky and Tennessee capable of collectively producing more than 120 gigawatt hours annually, the Energy Department said.
The department said the plants will displace more than 455 million gallons of gasoline per year for the lifetime of the vehicles powered by these batteries. The project is expected to create a total of approximately 5,000 construction jobs in Tennessee and Kentucky, and 7,500 operations jobs once the plants are producing batteries.
Last year, the department awarded a joint venture of General Motors Co and LG Energy Solution $2.5 billion to help finance construction of new lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing facilities. The loan to Ultium Cells LLC is for facilities in Ohio, Tennessee, and Michigan.
>>> Toyota unveils sweeping plans for new battery tech, EV innovation
By Daniel Leussink
June 13, 2023
TOKYO, June 13 (Reuters) - Toyota (7203.T) will introduce high-performance, solid-state batteries and other technologies to improve the driving range and cut costs of future electric vehicles (EVs), the automaker said on Tuesday, a strategic pivot that sent its shares higher.
The Japanese giant's technology roadmap, covering aspects as varied as next-generation battery development and a radical redesign of factories, amounted to the automaker's fullest disclosure of its plan to compete in the fast-growing market for EVs where it has lagged rivals led by Tesla (TSLA.O).
The plan comes a day before an annual shareholders meeting where governance and strategy - including a slow pivot to battery EVs under former CEO Akio Toyoda - will be scrutinised.
Shares of the world's best-selling automaker jumped 5% on the day to 2,173 yen, the highest since August.
Toyota said it aims to launch next-generation lithium-ion batteries from 2026 offering longer ranges and quicker charging.
It also trumpeted a "technological breakthrough" that addresses durability problems in solid-state batteries and said it is developing means to mass produce those batteries, targeting commercialisation over 2027-2028.
Solid-state batteries can hold more energy than current liquid electrolyte batteries. Automakers and analysts expect them to speed transition to EVs by addressing a major consumer concern: range.
Still, such batteries are expensive and likely to remain so for years. Toyota will hedge with better-performing lithium iron phosphate batteries, a cheaper alternative to lithium-ion batteries that have spurred EV adoption in China, the world's largest vehicle market.
At the high end of the market, Toyota said it would produce an EV with a more efficient lithium-ion battery offering a range of 1,000 km (621 miles). By comparison, the long-range version of the lithium-ion-powered Tesla Model Y, the world's best-selling EV, can drive for about 530 km based on U.S. standards.
An EV powered by a solid-state battery would have a range of 1,200 km and charging time of just 10 minutes, Toyota said. By comparison, the Tesla Supercharger network - the largest of its kind - offers the equivalent of 321 km of charge in 15 minutes.
Toyota did not detail expected costs or required investment for the plans.
Engineers at the automaker have been considering a reboot of its EV strategy since last year to better compete.
The roadmap detailed on Tuesday showed that under new CEO Koji Sato, Toyota has adopted much of the revamp that engineers and planners have been developing as options for months.
That includes use of electric-axle and other technology from suppliers such as Aisin (7259.T) and Denso (6902.T).
"What we want to achieve is to change the future with BEVs," Takero Kato, president of new Toyota EV unit BEV Factory, said in a video posted on the automaker's YouTube channel on Tuesday.
NEW ASSEMBLY TECHNOLOGY
Toyota said it was developing a dedicated EV platform to reduce the cost of new models and a heavily automated assembly line that would do away with the conveyor belt system that has defined auto production since Henry Ford over 100 years ago.
In Toyota's "self-propelling" assembly line, cars under production would drive themselves through the process.
It also said it would use Giga casting to cut production costs, adopting an innovation pioneered by Tesla using massive, aluminium casting machines to reduce vehicle complexity.
Koji Endo, senior analyst at SBI Securities, said he was surprised by Toyota's move to counter Tesla's lead in production efficiency. "I'm not sure yet Toyota can push back in a counter offensive, but it's getting ready to try," he said.
Toyota's BEV Factory, established in May, aims to produce about 1.7 million vehicles by 2030, Kato said - about half of the 3.5 million EVs Toyota aims to sell annually by that year.
In April, the automaker sold 8,584 EVs worldwide, including under its Lexus brand, accounting for more than 1% of its global sales in a single month for the first time.
Toyota sold almost 10.5 million vehicles in 2022, and has a market value of about $254 billion. By contrast, Tesla sold one-eighth as many vehicles yet is valued at around $791 billion, a premium reflecting investor belief in Tesla's growth potential.
Toyota has long said it wants to offer consumers a choice of new-energy vehicles, including petrol-electric hybrids and hydrogen fuel cells as well as battery EVs, as part of the industry's transition from petrol-powered vehicles.
>>> Another company with plans to extract lithium in Akansas... Standard Lithium (NYSE: SLI)...
By applying proprietary modern processing technologies and strategic partnerships Standard Lithium (TSXV.SLI) (NYSE.A:SLI) (FRA: S5L) is poised to bring the first new U.S. based lithium project in over 50+ years into production. The company’s flagship south Arkansas project is the largest and most advanced lithium brine project in the U.S. The 3.94 million tonne lithium carbonate equivalent resource, 175,000-acre project is located in a region of southern Arkansas that is home to North America’s largest brine production and processing facilities.
Standard Lithium is partnered with global specialty chemical company Lanxess AG on the project. The partnership is in the demonstration stage of testing the commercial viability of lithium extraction on a mass scale from brine that is a byproduct of existing bromine production facilities run by Lanxess in southern Arkansas.
Edit: correct symbol is SLI and also trades on the TSX
>>> Exxon Joins Hunt for Lithium in Bet on EV Boom
Oil giant quietly laid plans this year for producing mineral in Arkansas
By Benoît Morenne and Collin Eaton
May 21, 2023
Exxon Mobil is bracing for a future far less dependent on gasoline by drilling for something other than oil: lithium.
The Texas oil giant recently purchased drilling rights to a sizable chunk of Arkansas land from which it aims to produce the mineral, a key ingredient in batteries for electric cars, cellphones and laptops, according to people familiar with the matter.
Lithium is far removed from the fossil-fuel business, which has powered Exxon’s profits for more than a century, and signals the company’s acknowledgment that demand for internal combustion engines could soon peak, the people said. It would also mark a return for the company to an industry it helped pioneer almost 50 years ago.
Exxon bought 120,000 gross acres in the Smackover formation of southern Arkansas from an exploration company called Galvanic Energy, according to some of the people. The price tag was more than $100 million, people familiar with the matter said, a relatively small transaction for a company of Exxon’s size.
>>> US officials remove key obstacle to Thacker Pass lithium project
May 16, 2023
By Ernest Scheyder
(Reuters) -The U.S. Interior Department on Tuesday removed one of the last remaining obstacles to Lithium Americas Corp's Thacker Pass mine project in Nevada by finding nearly all of the site contains the metal used to make electric-vehicle batteries.
The opinion from the department's solicitor comes amid an acrimonious debate about whether more U.S. mines should be built to produce lithium and other green energy transition metals.
A federal judge in February rejected claims that the Thacker Pass project would cause unnecessary harm to the environment, but ordered officials to study whether roughly 1,300 acres (530 hectares) at the site where Lithium Americas hopes to store waste rock - a byproduct of the mining process - contained the metal. The ruling is being appealed, although the court has allowed construction to begin.
The judge's order was linked to an unrelated appeals court ruling that found mining companies do not necessarily have the right under U.S. law to store waste rock on federal land that does not contain valuable minerals.
Of the dozens of mining claims at the Thacker Pass site held by the company, the government found fewer than 10 did not contain lithium mineralization, an Interior Department official told Reuters.
"They're going to be able to start construction and production without these claims being in the plan of operation," the official said of Lithium Americas.
The Vancouver, Canada-based company, which is developing the project with General Motors Co, can apply for a right-of-way to use those other claims for non-mining purposes, the official said.
"We're committed to doing this job right and meeting or exceeding state and federal regulations as we advance construction," said Jon Evans, the CEO of Lithium Americas.
John Hadder of Great Basin Resource Watch, a conservation group that has appealed the court's ruling, said it believes federal law allows Lithium Americas access to the land only if lithium is consistently found in quantities that are economical to extract.
"It stands to reason that the mining company would not place millions of tonnes of waste material on an area where they see valuable mineral deposits," said Hadder.
The opinion comes as the Biden administration has taken steps to block other mines, although the official said those should not be taken as a sign of opposition to all extractive projects.
"We're in favor of increasing domestic mineral production when it's being done in the right location and in the right way," the official said.
Re-post - >>> Deep dive into ALB vs PKX to add downstream processor of Lithium to my holdings. Long story short, beyond the Lithium hydroxide JV with Pilbara, PKX has battery materials processing lines feeding battery manufacturers, proprietary DLE technology, and produces Lithium Carbonate. They also have a host of other divisions that broaden exposure: energy agriculture, and steel production. PKX is extremely well positioned to feed materials to the battery manufacturers in Korea, and across Asia. They are approximately the same MC as ALB. Bottom line both are attractive based on their individual strengths in the respective geographic locals. For the moment PKX looks like the more attractive option due to it's holdings beyond Lithium.
>>> Elon Musk and Tesla break ground on massive Texas lithium refinery
By Hyunjoo Jin and Ernest Scheyder
(Reuters) -Tesla Inc on Monday broke ground on a Texas lithium refinery that CEO Elon Musk said should produce enough of the battery metal to build about 1 million electric vehicles (EVs) by 2025, making it the largest North American processor of the material.
The facility will push Tesla outside its core focus of building automobiles and into the complex area of lithium refining and processing, a step Musk said was necessary if the auto giant was to meet its ambitious EV sales targets.
"As we look ahead a few years, a fundamental choke point in the advancement of electric vehicles is the availability of battery grade lithium," Musk said at the ground-breaking ceremony on Monday, with dozers and other earth-moving equipment operating in the background.
Musk said Tesla aimed to finish construction of the factory next year and then reach full production about a year later.
The move will make Tesla the only major automaker in North America that will refine its own lithium. Currently, China dominates the processing of many critical minerals, including lithium.
"Texas wants to be able to be self-reliant, not dependent upon any foreign hostile nation for what we need. We need lithium," Texas Governor Greg Abbott said at the ceremony.
Musk did not specify the volume of lithium the facility would process each year, although he said the automaker would continue to buy the metal from its vendors, which include Albemarle Corp and Livent Corp. "We intend to continue to use suppliers of lithium, so it's not that Tesla will do all of it," Musk said. Albemarle plans to build a lithium processing facility in South Carolina that will refine 100,000 tonnes of the metal each year, with construction slated to begin next year and the facility coming online sometime later this decade.
Musk did not say where Tesla will source the rough form of lithium known as spodumene concentrate that will be processed at the facility, although Tesla has supply deals with Piedmont Lithium Inc and others.
Tesla said it would eschew the lithium industry's conventional refining process, which relies on sulfuric acid and other strong chemicals, in favor of materials that were less harsh on the environment, such as soda ash.
"You could live right in the middle of the refinery and not suffer any ill effect. So they're very clean operations," Musk said, although local media reports said some environmental advocates had raised concerns over the facility.
Monday's announcement was not the first time that Tesla has attempted to venture into lithium production. Musk in 2020 told shareholders that Tesla had secured rights to 10,000 acres in Nevada where it aimed to produce lithium from clay deposits, which had never been done before at commercial scale.
While Musk boasted that the company had developed a proprietary process to sustainably produce lithium from those Nevada clay deposits, Tesla has not yet deployed the process.
Musk has urged entrepreneurs to enter the lithium refining business, saying it is like "minting money."
"We're begging you. We don't want to do it. Can someone please?," he said during a conference call last month.
Tesla said last month a recent plunge in prices of lithium and other commodities would aid Tesla's bruised margins in the second half of the year.
The refinery is the latest expansion by Tesla into Texas after the company moved its headquarters there from California in 2021. Musk's other companies, including like SpaceX and The Boring Company, also have operations in Texas.
"We are proud that he calls Texas home," Abbott said, saying Tesla and Musk are "Texas's economic juggernauts."
Re-posts - >>> Great merger...Allkem and Livent to Create a Leading Global Integrated Lithium Chemicals Producer
The companies complement each others strengths to create a well positioned company ready to exploit growing Lithium demand. <<<
>>> Allkem/Livent Merger Presentation
They will be a force in the industry. For me, worth considering additional shares to current position on any price weakness.
Will M&A activity accelerate? This merger ups the bar. Personally, I'd be amenable to Pilbara merging with an integrated miner/chemical processor, that would create another powerful entity.
>>> Canadian group led by Pierre Lassonde plans to buy Teck's coal mines <<<
>>> Pilbara Minerals Limited (PILBF) explores for, develops, and operates mineral resources in Australia. The company primarily holds a 100% interest in the Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The company was incorporated in 2005 and is based in West Perth, Australia.
>>> Liontown Bids Signal Strong Outlook for Lithium, Rival Says
by Sybilla Gross and Haidi Lun
May 3, 2023
Liontown Bids Signal Strong Outlook for Lithium, Rival Says
(Bloomberg) -- The recent flurry of bidding activity for Australian lithium producer Liontown Resources Ltd. reflects broader optimism in the sector, according to one of the country’s top miners of the key electric-vehicle battery metal.
The intense interest in Liontown, which has become an acquisition target after it spurned three bids in five months from the world’s top lithium producer Albemarle Corp., is “a really strong point of evidence” about the outlook, Pilbara Minerals Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Dale Henderson said.
“Full credit to Albemarle who are walking the talk — their CEO has spoke to the necessity for all lithium projects to come online, and here they are voting with their money,” Henderson said in a Bloomberg Television interview broadcast Wednesday. “It just underscores the support for the long-term proposition for lithium.”
The lithium sector is set for further consolidation around longer-term assets, Liontown Chief Executive Officer Tony Ottaviano said in a separate interview, while defending the company’s recent rejection of a multi-billion dollar bid for the business.
“There is a lot of demand for spodumene coming out of China, and then more broadly around the world,” Ottaviano told Bloomberg Television interview Wednesday. With global demand for lithium set to boom, bigger companies that buy longer-term assets will stand to benefit as consolidation starts to emerge, he added.
Liontown in March rejected a A$5.5 billion ($3.7 billion) offer from Albemarle, which is expected to be a key topic of interest at the US miner’s earnings call to shareholders on Thursday in New York. Ottaviano denied local media reports of an ongoing bidding war for his company.
“At the end of the day, there’s a difference of opinion around value and that’s where it sits at the moment,” he said about Albemarle’s offer. “We’ve had no further formal approaches.”
Meanwhile, Pilbara Minerals, one of Australia’s top lithium miners, said earlier this year it will nearly double production by late 2025 to meet soaring demand for the key electric-vehicle battery metal.
READ: Lithium’s Next Big Risk Is Grand Supply Plans Falling Short
The Perth-based miner plans to push ahead with the expansion, despite a recent steep pullback in lithium prices as more supply comes online, Henderson said. The resulting slide in company valuations has helped open the door to potential acquisitions in a sector still dominated by junior and mid-sized players.
“It’s an incredible market and Pilbara looks always to capitalize on that,” he said. “We’re not holding back on our investment.”
>>> Liontown Resources Limited (LINRF) engages in the exploration, evaluation, and development of mineral properties in Australia. The company explores for lithium, gold, vanadium, copper, and nickel deposits, as well as platinum group elements. Its flagship property is the Kathleen Valley lithium project located in Perth, Western Australia. The company was incorporated in 2006 and is based in West Perth, Australia.