North America accounted for 12 p.c of lithium demand final 12 months. By 2030, Albemarle expects North America to comprise 20 p.c of worldwide demand. As that demand rises, extra shall be domestically produced.
Battery cell producers and automakers are investing billions to localize the EV provide chain.
The Inflation Reduction Act has allowed Albemarle to extend its enterprise within the U.S. The firm’s greatest lithium sources are in Chile and Australia, however the next-best lithium websites are in North America, he stated. The firm is opening a mine in Kings Mountain, N.C.
“It is every bit as good as the resources … in Australia. And it’s in our backyard,” Norris stated. “What the IRA did was de-risk and accelerate that.”
Even as mining turns into extra prevalent in North America, native battery materials processing lags. About a 3rd of supplies are processed in North America and free-trade accomplice nations. Albemarle would not anticipate that share to develop by 2030. Most processing has been achieved in China.
“The know-how to do that is sparse,” Norris stated.
But the necessity to construct processing facilities in North America is crucial. It aids nationwide safety and permits firms resembling Albemarle to reap the benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act incentives. And it shortens the size of consumers’ provide chains, a newfound focus after pandemic-era disruptions.