Electric Vehicle Push Returns North Carolina to Its Lithium Mining Roots – by Alan Rappeport (New York Times – November 30, 2023)


After decades of stagnation, the Tar Heel State is the beneficiary of a lithium rush fueled by demand for car batteries.

The Kings Mountain hiking trail known as Cardio Hill overlooks a pit full of rainwater the size of a lake, but the craggy terrain situated about 30 miles west of Charlotte is now one of the most precious pieces of real estate in the United States.

Beneath that ground is a mine that has been stagnant since the 1980s and is believed to contain one of the nation’s largest deposits of lithium, a critical ingredient in the batteries needed to power electric vehicles.

Albemarle Corporation, the world’s largest lithium producer, is trying to revive the mine and capitalize on the Biden administration’s push to develop a domestic electric vehicle industry. It is just one of several projects underway in North Carolina, where companies are racing to secure permits for multibillion-dollar lithium investments, in part to try to benefit from lucrative incentives included in President Biden’s new climate law.

On Thursday, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen traveled to North Carolina to visit Livent, a lithium hydroxide processing company that currently gets its lithium from Canada and Argentina. The company expanded its plant in Bessemer City, N.C., and increased its manufacturing capacity there by 50 percent, a decision it attributed to the Inflation Reduction Act, which contains tax incentives for American-made electric vehicles.

For the rest of this article: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/30/business/electric-vehicle-north-carolina-lithium-mining.html