CSX joined Piedmont Lithium officials and Tennessee Community Development Commissioner Stuart McWhorter Sept. 1 to announce the selection of a rail-served site near Etowah, Tennessee, for a major lithium hydroxide project that will support the nation’s rapidly growing electric vehicle industry.
Piedmont Lithium officials said the company will invest $582 million to establish a lithium hydroxide processing, refining and manufacturing facility in Southeast Tennessee. Piedmont said the project is believed to be largest lithium hydroxide processing facility planned in the United States.
“The rapid electrification of the automotive market has led to massive investments in electric vehicle and lithium-ion battery production in the United States, creating a critical need for lithium hydroxide produced in the U.S.,” said Keith Phillips, president and chief executive officer of Piedmont Lithium. “Our Tennessee Lithium operation should play an important role in helping to mitigate supply shortages in the American EV industry and battery supply chain, particularly in the wake of recent legislation incentivizing the use of domestically sourced critical materials and providing tax credits for U.S. producers.”
The site chosen for the plant, which is expected to create 117 jobs, is in McMinn County at the North Etowah Industrial Park, a CSX and Select Tennessee Certified Site. Rail service was instrumental in the site-selection process, and CSX worked closely with Piedmont Lithium and economic development officials to land the project.
“CSX shares the commitment of Piedmont Lithium, Tennessee and its communities to economic growth and a sustainable future,” said Tom Tisa, CSX head of business development. “The CSX Select Sites program helps companies identify high-quality sites that meet their development criteria, while also enabling them to reduce their carbon footprint through fuel-efficient rail transportation.”
CSX’s role was also cited by Stuart McWhorter, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. “Thank you to the local community and our partners at CSX for their support in making this win a reality,” McWhorter said. “Tennessee continues to attract companies in the electric vehicle industry [and] we believe McMinn County will be the ideal location to support Piedmont‘s growth and success.”