(Reuters) - Piedmont Lithium Inc said on Thursday it will build a lithium processing plant in Tennessee to supply the rapidly-growing electric vehicle (EV) industry.
The move follows a U.S. government push for more domestic production of lithium, a critical metal for EV batteries. Last month's sweeping Inflation Reduction Act includes a $7,500 tax credit for EVs which contain certain elements mined or processed in the country.
Piedmont expects the Etowah, Tennessee facility to begin production in 2025, and believes it will be the largest lithium hydroxide processing site in the United States, with a target of 30,000 metric ton per year (tpy).
Belmont, North Carolina-based Piedmont said it will source the lithium concentrate for processing mainly from its international project investments. The firm is developing its projects in Quebec and Ghana as its North Carolina mine faces regulatory hurdles.
Piedmont said that the Tennessee facility will help bring its total U.S.-based production capacity to 60,000 tpy by 2026. The company added that current total U.S. production of lithium hydroxide is 15,000 tpy.
It plans to invest about $600 million to develop the facility and employ 120 people.
(Reporting by Ruhi Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)