Tesla Lithium Refinery Plant Near Corpus Christi, TX, Taking Shape
Written by Maria Merano, Teslarati
Published Sept. 5, 2023
Tesla’s lithium refinery plant near Corpus Christi, TX, is taking shape. Tesla has big plans for the lithium refinery and the role it could play in the company’s overarching goals.
Experienced drone operator Joe Tegtmeyer recently flew over the Tesla lithium refinery site and discovered significant progress has been made in its development in the last four months.
One of the more noticeable changes to the site is the massive ponds created near the lithium refinery plant. Tegtmeyer also said in April---before the groundbreaking---Tesla’s lithium refinery site was just fields. Now, Tesla has flattened most of the land and prepared it for construction.
Tesla held a groundbreaking ceremony at the site in May.
“Our goal is to start commissioning portions of the facility before the end of the year. The refinery uses the sulfate-free spodumene refining process with reduced process costs, no acid or caustic reagents, lower embodied energy. It actually produces a beneficial byproduct that can be repurposed in construction materials,” Andrew Baglino said during the Q1 2023 earnings call.
In late 2022, documents from the Texas Comptroller showed Tesla applied for tax breaks for a potential lithium hydroxide refinery plant. Later, the Robstown Independent School District (ISD) approved a taxable value limitation for Tesla’s lithium refinery.
Tesla also applied to secure property tax incentives with Nueces County. The EV manufacturer withdrew its request in January, explaining “abatements were no longer necessary” for it to move forward with its plans.
By March, Tesla posted job openings at the lithium refinery that would offer employment to about 165 people. In June, Tesla proposed to donate $3.8 million to improve the roads near the refinery, particularly county roads 30, 79 and 81.