Albemarle has signed agreements with Caterpillar to collaborate on efforts, including utilization of battery-powered equipment, to establish its Kings Mountain mine in North Carolina as the first-ever zero-emissions lithium mine site in North America.
Additionally, the companies agreed to making Albemarle’s North American-produced lithium available for use in Caterpillar battery production. Albemarle and Caterpillar will also explore opportunities to collaborate on research and development of battery cell technology and recycling techniques.
“Beyond supplying infrastructure and materials, battery-powered Caterpillar machinery and potential improvements to cell technology will open up new possibilities for the future of sustainable mining,” said Albemarle Energy Storage President Eric Norris.
“We look forward to replicating at Kings Mountain the same progress that we have made toward social and environmental responsibility at our Salar de Atacama [Chile] operation, where we became the first lithium producer in the world to complete a third-party audit and publish our report through the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance’s stringent standard.”
Rod Shurman, senior vice president of Electrification and Energy Solutions at Caterpillar, added that the offtake and R&D agreements “will help to 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.”
The Albemarle-Caterpillar partnership come on the heels of Albemarle’s recent award of $90 million from the Department of Defense, to help support the restart of Kings Mountain and boost domestic critical material processing for the battery supply chain.