Greenwich, Connecticut-based lithium project developer Stardust Power has unveiled its plan to construct a new battery-grade lithium refining facility in the central U.S. region.
Lithium is essential to the global electrification transition, the critical resource required for electric vehicle (EV) and utility-scale energy storage batteries, among others.
According to the company, the new facility is expected to produce 50,000 metric tons per year of "high-quality" battery-grade lithium, which will help secure U.S. energy independence and support the expansion of domestic manufacturing.
Construction of the facility is expected to begin in 2024, with production starting in late-2025.
Stardust says it is positioning itself strategically from both upstream and downstream perspectives by negotiating offtake agreements with lithium miners and a lithium refinery in close proximity to gigafactories in the South and Midwest.
“We are pleased to announce Stardust Power’s formation,” said Roshan Pujari, Co-Founder and CEO of Stardust Power. “There is currently no large-scale refinery for battery-grade lithium in the U.S., exposing the country to undue national security and supply chain concerns. Our goal is to bridge the critical gap in domestic supply, creating battery-grade lithium from a central U.S. refinery, to allow for America’s establishment of a secure battery materials and technology supply chain and ensure long-term U.S. economic competitiveness.”
Currently, up to 85 percent of lithium resources are sent to China for refinement and then sold to manufacturers. The U.S. has only one lithium producing asset in Nevada, which produces around 5,000 metric tons per year. This amount is significantly lower than the estimated 500,000 metric tons per year of unrefined lithium required to power EVs.
With a focus on sustainability, Stardust says it will be favoring lithium brine deposits, including spent brine sources, over hard rock deposits and open pit methods of mineral extraction. The refinery will also feature sustainable, low-carbon power sources.
Additionally, Stardust has assembled an experienced management and technical team with deep industry expertise to deliver on its plan and production schedule. The key executives include Roshan Pujari as Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer; Pablo Cortegoso as Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer; and Charlotte Nangolo as Co-Founder and Head of Exploration.
Automaker General Motors has announced a plan to invest $650 million in startup Lithium Americas to develop the proposed Thacker Pass mine in Nevada. Ioneer also has gained some U.S. federal regulatory approvals to develop the planned Rhyolite Ridge lithium mining site (see photo above) also in Nevada.