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Governor Abbott Celebrates New Tesla Lithium Refinery in Robstown

-Editorial

Texas Governor Greg Abbott celebrated Tesla’s new lithium refining facility and the economic boost it will have for South Texas at a groundbreaking ceremony in Robstown. During the groundbreaking ceremony, Governor Abbott thanked Tesla for choosing Nueces County as the location for the state-of-the-art lithium refinery, noting that the new facility will generate $375 million in capital investment and bring more than 400 new good-paying jobs to Texans in the region.

“Texas is proud to be the home of Tesla, and I thank them for choosing Robstown for their new lithium refinery,” said Governor Abbott. “Texas will continue to be a hub of innovation, leading the way on the future of technology. With the Port of Corpus Christi nearby and Tesla’s Gigafactory in Austin, the lithium refined here will work its way into Tesla batteries all over the world. I want to thank Judge Scott, Mayor Gomez, and other local leaders for bringing such a great company to this wonderful city. Working together, we will power the Texas of tomorrow.”

The Governor was joined at the groundbreaking by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Nueces County Judge Connie Scott, Robstown Mayor Gilbert Gomez, and other local, state, and federal leaders. Addressing the crowd of over 100, the Governor congratulated economic development leaders at the state and local level for attracting world-renowned innovators to Texas and securing Texas’ own lithium refining production, powering the future of the state for generations to come. Governor Abbott also presented a proclamation to Musk, commemorating the new lithium refinery and recognizing Tesla’s investment in South Texas.

The first of its kind in North America, Tesla’s new refinery will produce battery-grade lithium and house battery materials processing, refining, and manufacturing operations for the company’s product line. In July 2020, Governor Abbott welcomed Tesla to Texas after the company announced the construction of its new electric vehicle manufacturing facility, Gigafactory Texas, in Travis County.

Once complete, the facility will represent an investment of $1 Billion in Southwest Texas. This investment is critical to Tesla’s mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy and represents their efforts to aggressively increase the supply of battery-grade lithium hydroxide available in North America.

The 1,200+ acre site will be the location of the first industrial deployment of an acid-free lithium refining route. This process eliminates the use of hazardous reagents and byproducts in favor of more inert options. The byproduct from this facility, a mixture of sand and limestone, is useful in the production of construction materials, making beneficial use of traditional waste streams.

In the future, Tesla expects this facility to also process other intermediate lithium feedstocks, including recycled batteries and manufacturing scrap.

The construction effort will create nearly 1,000 construction jobs, and the facility will employ upwards of 250 full time employees, including production technicians, operations managers, and engineering roles to support ongoing plant maintenance and optimization.

Tesla is also committed to building talent pipelines in the greater Coastal Bend area through education investments in the Robstown Independent School District, apprenticeship pathways at Del Mar Community College, and internship opportunities with Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

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