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Lithium Top Dog Albemarle Reveals Upcoming Plans


Albemarle Corporation, now the world leader in the field of lithium mining and processing, recently announced several upcoming initiatives that are bound to increase its lead even in a highly competitive sector.

The company which operates mines in Australia, Chile, and the United States hopes to make Kings Mountain, its mining facility in North Carolina, fully operational by 2027. Should this come to pass, the North Carolina mine will be Albemarle’s second in the United States as operations at its mine in Silver Peak in Nevada are already well underway.

Now Rising in South Carolina

At present, the company is in the process of building a lithium processing facility in South Carolina at a cost of around $1.3 billion. 

This particular facility will be used to process lithium hydroxide for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, essentially supporting the annual production of approximately 2.4 million EVs. 

The South Carolina plant will also be used to upcycle and process lithium retrieved from spent EVs or lithium-ion batteries. 

A Lucky Pitch – But for How Much Longer?

Albemarle certainly found itself at the right place at the right time. Lithium is, after all, one of the most sought-after materials required for the production of EV batteries at a time when the world is scrambling to wean itself from fossil fuels, particularly in the transportation and industrial sectors. 

Indeed, a recent report from consulting firm McKinsey & Co notes that the demand for lithium is set to surge from around 500,000 metric tons back in 2021 to between three million and four million metric tons by the end of the current decade.

However, even industry leaders like Albemarle are balking at the rising number of issues that could significantly slow down the global demand for EVs. These include the looming possibility of an economic recession in the United States, as well as nascent technologies that may reduce the global need for lithium.

Likewise, Albemarle will need to address the growing number of players in the battery development and production sectors of the EV industry, with EV giant Tesla set to build its own lithium processing facility within this year.

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