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Driving Our Economy Forward: Piedmont Lithium

Original article written by WDEF Anchor/Reporter, Emily Cassulo. News footage by David Moore, WDEF.

ETOWAH, Tenn. (WDEF) — Electric vehicles are the future.

That’s why Piedmont Lithium is investing nearly $600 million into a new plant in McMinn County.

It’s just one way the company is driving our economy forward.

“We produce lithium hydroxide that goes into the EV batteries,” said Malissa Gordon, VP of Government Affairs. “It’s battery grade lithium basically. And we are working toward that demand that we all hear there’s not enough supply for. Right now we are headquartered in North Carolina. We were looking for a second site for a lithium hydroxide facility, processing facility. And we chose Etowah, McMinn County, Tennessee.”

Gordon said a lot of it had to do with the site itself.

“Tennessee has a certified site program that we were able to take advantage of,” she said.

“I believe there’s, you know, a lot of push for the south,” said Ben Stone, Smart Factory Institute Director. “At the Smart Factory, we try to push technology. We want to be on the leading edge, but it’s also the workforce. And I think companies are seeing a very strong workforce in the southeast. And that’s bringing bigger companies here.”

“Personnel is the key, so we will start hiring,” Gordon said. “We will start once we get past permitting. We’ll start construction, and we’ll be operational in 2026.”

“A lot of these jobs, especially when we look at EV and we’re looking at this brand new technology, the amount of engineers and executives that are moving to this area and calling it home from all over the world is drastically increasing because of this movement,” Stone said.

Gordon says Piedmont Lithium wants to be a part of that growth.

“We wanted to be centrally located within our supply chain if you will,” Gordon said.

“It was all about this location, this area, being right in the middle of it. We need more Piedmont Lithiums. We need more processing and production facilities here in the United States to keep up with this demand. It’s the only way it’s going to happen.”

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