- U.S. lithium producer Stardust Power will build a battery-grade lithium refinery in Muskogee, Oklahoma, to serve as a hub for the company's domestic supply chain.
- The more than $1 billion facility will be a central location for lithium inputs to be delivered, before being refined into battery-grade lithium products and shipped to locations across the country, the company announced earlier this month.
- The site will have a production capacity of 50,000 metric tonnes of lithium per year, and the company expects to break ground in the first half of the year.
Oklahoma and Arkansas have received increasing attention in recent years as the home of major lithium deposits and the potential to become a central location in the U.S. critical mineral supply chain.
In November, Exxon Mobil moved into the lithium mining industry with plans to develop a drilling site and processing plant for the material in southwest Arkansas. Exxon Mobil bought the land from mineral developer Galvanic Energy, which claims its brine holds enough lithium to produce enough batteries for 50 million electric vehicles.
In Oklahoma, Stardust plans to set up its refinery as another piece in the burgeoning U.S. lithium ecosystem. Stardust touted the area's trained workforce and intermodal freight transport as key reasons behind the decision. The project is expected to create hundreds of jobs.
"Currently there is no large-scale refinery for battery-grade lithium in the United States, exposing the country to undue national security and supply chain risk,” Stardust founder and CEO Roshan Pujari said in a statement. “We will work with oil and gas producers to address America’s growing energy demands."
Stardust will receive $257 million in state and federal incentives, and the company may also apply for other grants from the Department of Energy and Department of Defense, it said in its announcement.
Oklahoma has been pursuing critical mineral projects for months. In August, critical mineral refiner Westwin Elements broke ground on a nickel and cobalt refinery in Lawton, said to be the first facility of its kind in the U.S.
Back in June 2022, the state secured a $100 million rare earth metal and manufacturing facility from USA Rare Earth to be built in Stillwater.
"Our goal with this project is to advance U.S. manufacturing capacity by establishing the first vertically integrated domestic supply chain for rare earth elements," USA Rare Earth President Thayer Smith said in a statement at the time of the announcement.