Accompanied by Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott, Tesla CEO and Tech King Elon Musk turned over the ceremonial dirt as they announced a new lithium refining plant in Corpus Christi, TX. At a cost of $375 million, Musk is committing to bringing this Gulf Coast city into the fold of cities benefitting from his relocation from California and its oppressive taxes and overreach.
Per filings with the Texas Comptroller’s office, the plant will focus on the creation of a “battery-grade lithium hydroxide refining facility.” Additionally, the location will also have “facilities to support other types of battery materials processing, refining and manufacturing and ancillary manufacturing operations in support of Tesla’s sustainable product line.”
Many have been concerned about the environmental impacts of creating such a facility. Musk claimed, “There’s no toxic emissions or anything — you could live right in the middle of the refinery and not suffer any ill effects.” This statement has been echoed by refinery owners across the world who utilize adequate procedures as well.
By creating this new plant, Musk looks to change the way battery-making is accomplished for the company. As he pointed out in April 2022, lithium refining had gone sky-high. With China controlling over half of the global processing and refining capacity, the US can only take 1% of the pie. This isn’t a good business model for Tesla, or the nation – especially as Biden wants the US to become more reliant on green energy.
While Musk didn’t get into the idea of supplying lithium to other battery manufacturers, the idea of that happening is more likely than not. While cunning, strategic, and direct, Musk is a businessman first. If he can take away a good chunk of his costs and help get more people in a spot to go green, he seems to be all for it. Especially if it means adding another 5,000 jobs.