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DOE Supports Albemarle Lithium Facility with $150M Grant

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The agency is awarding the funds as part of federal government’s efforts to expand production of EV batteries in the US.

Specialty chemicals firm Albemarle announced Wednesday that the US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded a $150 million grant to support the company’s plans to construct a new lithium concentrator plant in Kings Mountain, NC. The funding is provided through the Biden Administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which aims to expand production of electric vehicle (EV) batteries in the US.

Kent Masters, the company’s chief executive officer, is scheduled to participate in a virtual White House event on Wednesday that will announce the DOE’s award to the company.

“Albemarle is proud to partner with the federal government to bring manufacturing jobs to the southeastern United States, strengthening the domestic supply chain for the growing electric vehicle market. Receiving the DOE grant affirms Albemarle’s position as a global market leader and one of the only lithium companies currently producing battery-grade lithium from US resources,” Masters said in a company release. “Expanding our US footprint also increases the speed of lithium processing and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from long-distance transportation of raw minerals.”

Once operational, the lithium concentrator facility will produce up to 350,000 mt/yr of spodumene concentrate. The materials will be supplied to Albemarle’s planned mega-flex lithium conversion plant, which will supply up to 100,000 mt/yr of battery-grade lithium to domestic EV battery manufacturers.

Albemarle is currently in the process of selecting a location in the southeastern US for the mega-flex lithium conversion site. The facility will be designed to accommodate a range of feedstocks, from spodumene to recycled lithium materials.

A portion of the DOE grant will be used for a $5 million mineral processing operator training program at Cleveland Community College, a $1.5 million minerals lab research program at Virginia Tech, and a $1.5 million minerals pilot plant and engineering training program at North Carolina State University’s Asheville Minerals Research Lab.

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