Demand for lithium, a key element for electric automobile batteries, is anticipated to surge, from 500,000 metric tons of lithium carbonate in 2021 to 3 to 4 million metric tons in much less than a decade, according to McKinsey & Enterprise.
Albemarle, the world’s leading producer of this important metal and the operator of mines in Australia, Chile and the U.S., says it plans to bring an additional domestic lithium mine on line by 2027 — Kings Mountain in North Carolina. It currently operates Silver Peak in Nevada.
Albemarle is also constructing a $1.three billion processing facility in South Carolina, exactly where it will course of action battery-grade lithium hydroxide. The plant will assistance the manufacturing of two.four million electric cars annually and be capable to course of action lithium from recycled batteries.
In spite of that development, Albemarle faces a quantity of possible headwinds which includes a probable financial downturn that could slow the demand for EVs, new battery chemistries that could cut down the require for lithium, battery recycling and more competitors. Tesla began construction of a lithium refinery in Texas in 2023.
To far better recognize how lithium, recognized as “White Gold,” is extracted, the challenges involved and exactly where production is moving to subsequent, CNBC got a behind-the-scenes appear at Albemarle’s operations in Chile and the U.S.
Watch the video to study extra.