Albemarle Corp. reported the U.S. Department of Defense has approved a $90 million grant to help support the expansion of domestic mining and the production of lithium. The funding will be provided by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy, utilizing Defense Production Act authorities, and will be used to purchase a fleet of mining equipment as part of the company’s planned reopening of its lithium mine in Kings Mountain, N.C.
The planned Kings Mountain mine contains one of the few known hard rock lithium deposits in the U.S. The site is expected to feed sufficient material for 50,000 metric tons per year (mt/y) of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE ) of conversion capacity and support the manufacturing initially of approximately 1.2 million electric vehicles annually.
“As one of the only U.S.-based lithium companies to carry out lithium extraction, processing, and novel lithium battery material research in the United States, Albemarle is uniquely positioned to help power the clean energy revolution,” said Albemarle’s President of Energy Storage, Eric Norris. “Lithium is an essential ingredient in our sustainable energy future. Demand is expected to increase significantly, and it is imperative to secure our nation’s supply of this critical resource.”
Albemarle estimates that Kings Mountain will become operational as early as late 2026, pending permitting. At Kings Mountain, Albemarle is implementing “IRMA-Ready” standards – an operational playbook for mine sites in exploration phase. Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) standards emphasize environmental stewardship and community engagement.