Albemarle Corp. (Charlotte, N.C.) announced plans to locate its previously announced lithium hydroxide (LiOH) Mega-Flex facility in Chester County, South Carolina. Plans for the facility include an initial investment of at least $1.3 billion to help meet the surging demand for domestic and international electric vehicles and lithium-ion batteries.
The term Mega-Flex refers to the facility’s ability to process diverse lithium feedstock, including lithium from recycled batteries. Albemarle expects the facility to annually produce approximately 50,000 metric tons of battery-grade lithium hydroxide from multiple sources, with the potential to expand up to 100,000 metric tons. Production at the facility would support the manufacturing of an estimated 2.4 million electric vehicles annually. The site also supports the Inflation Reduction Act, a federal law enacted in 2022 to incentivize the localization of critical minerals in North America.
“This facility will help increase the production of U.S.-based lithium resources to fuel the clean energy revolution while bringing us closer to our customers as the supply chain is built out in North America,” said Albemarle CEO Kent Masters. “This investment supports our long-term commitment to providing innovative products and solutions that enable a more resilient world. We look forward to partnering with the state of South Carolina on this important project.”
Pending permitting approvals, the facility will be located within a nearly 800-acre parcel. Albemarle estimates the facility will create more than 300 new jobs with an average annual wage of approximately $93,000. In addition, the project would create more than 1,500 construction jobs.
To support the development of the new site, Albemarle is committed to advancing partnerships with the state, local communities, and educational institutions to build a talent pipeline and create advanced technology jobs to support the facility and the community. Additionally, the site will likely create new opportunities for suppliers and other businesses to locate nearby.
“Today’s announcement is positively electric news for the Palmetto State,” said South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. “Albemarle’s new facility will be transformative for our state, creating thousands of good-paying jobs in South Carolina, and help us further our goals of becoming an electric vehicle hub in the United States by being home to companies like Albemarle who are producing strategically critical material vital to the lithium-ion batteries that power everything from electric vehicles to medical devices. Advanced manufacturing has long been a part of our economic DNA in South Carolina, and we are proud of the progress we have made over the past three years in attracting businesses across the electric vehicle supply chain that represent the future of the United States economy and the environmental sustainability of the world.”
Construction is expected to begin late in 2024.