Albemarle Corp. partnered with Caterpillar to collaborate on solutions to support the full circular battery value chain and sustainable mining operations. The partnership will support Albemarle’s efforts to establish Kings Mountain, North Carolina, USA, as the first-ever zero-emissions lithium mine site in North America.

The efforts include the use of next-generation, mining equipment powered by batteries possibly made with Albemarle’s North American-produced lithium, Caterpillar said. The two companies will also explore opportunities to collaborate on research and development of battery cell technology and recycling techniques.

The collaboration will help both companies obtain zero-emissions goals and better serve customers with similar or the same goals, Caterpillar said. “The agreements for lithium offtake and potential collaboration on R&D will help to advance this work and further build out a secure, resilient and sustainable value chain for electrified equipment across the Caterpillar portfolio, while also supporting Albemarle’s journey to more sustainable operations,” said Rod Shurman, senior vice president, electrification and energy solutions.

The announcement follows Albemarle’s recent award of $90 million from the Department of Defense to help support the expansion of domestic mining and the production of lithium for the nation’s battery supply chain.