Tesla proposed a $3.8 million donation to improve roads near its lithium refinery in Robstown.
Tesla’s donation will improve County Roads 30, 79, and 81. Nueces County commissioners will discuss the proposal at their next regularly scheduled meeting this week. One of the commissioners, John Marez, explained that the approval process is complicated.
“That’s why it does have to go through the commissioner’s court to be able to review and accept the agreement. It will help the roads directly tied into their proposed plan or property they currently own in Nueces County,” he told a local news outlet.
Marez elaborated that Tesla’s $3.8 million donation would go towards widening roads and pavement improvements. The roads Tesla aims to improve lead to its Corpus Christi lithium refinery. Most of the donation will ensure the roads accommodate the heavy-duty equipment and vehicles passing through to Tesla’s lithium refinery.
The Nueces County commissioner saw Tesla’s donation in a positive light, commenting that he expects the proposal will be well-received by the other commissioners.
“We feel the road improvements are needed,” Marez said. “And maybe something we typically couldn’t afford, but also provides the guidelines they need to meet their needs as far as vehicles coming to and from their facility. I believe in the end it’s a win-win project.”
Tesla broke ground on its $375 million lithium refinery in Corpus Christi last month. The facility is located southwest of Robstown but within the Robstown Independent School District (ISD). Robstown ISD will generate tax revenue from Tesla’s lithium facility.
“For lithium, our Corpus Christi Lithium refinery breaks ground this May. Our goal is to start commissioning portions of the facility before the end of the year,” Andrew Baglino explained in the Q1 2023 earnings call.
“The refinery uses the sulfate-free spodumene refining process with reduced process costs, no acid or caustic reagents, lower embodied energy. It actually produces a beneficial byproduct that can be repurposed in construction materials. We discussed all of these concepts on Battery Day,” Baglino said.
Tesla aims to start operations at the lithium refinery by the end of the year. The company estimates that the lithium facility will have a capacity of 50 GWh annually.