Albemarle has teamed up with Caterpillar to provide solutions to support the full circular battery value chain and contribute to a more sustainable future for the mining industry.

The partnership will support Albemarle’s efforts to transform the Kings Mountain mine in North Carolina, US, as the North America’s first-ever zero-emissions lithium mine site.

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As part of these efforts, Albemarle looks to utilise Caterpillar battery-electric trucks at the mine site.

Said to contain one of the few known hard rock lithium deposits in the US, the Kings Mountain mine is expected to provide sufficient material for 50 kilotonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent of conversion capacity.

Albemarle also has signed an agreement with Caterpillar to provide lithium produced in North America to support the latter’s production of batteries.

Albemarle energy storage president Eric Norris said: “At Albemarle, we are committed to building a more resilient world. Our partners are critical to achieving that impact, and this collaboration with Caterpillar exhibits how we ‘walk the talk’ to pioneer what is next. It is a win-win-win scenario, in which we are both customers and suppliers of each other, and the innovation we pursue together benefits the world.

“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.”

Furthermore, the companies will explore potential collaboration opportunities around the research and development (R&D) of battery cell technology and recycling techniques.

Caterpillar electrification and energy solutions senior vice-president Rod Shurman said: “Caterpillar is developing lithium-ion batteries and battery-electric products today for our customers around the world who, like Albemarle, are driving toward net-zero carbon emissions goals.

“The agreements for lithium offtake and potential collaboration on R&D signed today will help to advance this work and 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.”