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Tesla breaks ground Monday at new Robstown refinery

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Gov. Greg Abbott will speak at the ceremony. It comes about two months after Tesla broke ground on the $375 million lithium plant.

ROBSTOWN, Texas — Tesla held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday to celebrate construction of its new $375 million lithium refinery just outside Corpus Christi. Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott were both in attendance.

Tesla is building the facility just southwest of Robstown but within the Robstown ISD school district. That's important because it means Robstown ISD will eventually be the beneficiary of the extra taxes the plant generates.

The plant will produce battery-grade lithium and Tesla is touting it as the first of its kind in North America.

Nueces County Judge Connie Scott said this is a opportunity for growth in the Coastal Bend.

"Tesla's investment in Nueces County, creating 150 new jobs, will bolster our regional economy," Scott said in a statement to 3NEWS. "This is an unprecedented opportunity and I will continue to work in partnership for progress."

Abbott touts Tesla plant as providing Texas future security

Gov. Abbott credited Nueces County for helping Tesla fast-track its permits during a speech in Corpus Christi on April 3. He also said this was an important step for Texas.

"Facilities like this lithium refinery is a core component to our state strategy for the state of Texas to be more self reliant," Abbott said.

Abbott pointed out the need for lithium and how rising tensions with China, where most lithium comes from, may cause a problem with the way we function if that source was ever cut off.

"That's why part of our strategy is for the state of Texas to be involved in producing more lithium, refining more lithium so that we will be the source point of the lithium that we need, and that our businesses need to keep Texas flourishing," he said.

Site of new Tesla plant

Credit: Texas Comptroller's office
Tesla is targeting a site in Nueces County southwest of Robstown to build a lithium refining facility.

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