A plan to tax lithium, which is widely used in the production of electric vehicle batteries, has been approved in California as part of the state’s efforts to generate revenue for environmental remediation projects.
The decision was pushed despite reservations from players in the battery industry, some of whom argued that a lithium tax would harm the sector. Two of California’s most notable lithium companies such as Controlled Thermal Resources Ltd and EnergySource Minerals LLC have suggested that the tax could scare off potential clients.
The California lithium tax was approved by Governor Gavin Newsom as part of a must-pass state budget on Thursday. As noted in a Reuters report, the state legislature signed off on the tax during its deliberations on Wednesday night.
As per the state’s decision, the lithium tax will adopt a flat rate per tonne model, and it will go into effect in January. The lithium tax is expected to be reviewed every year, with state officials agreeing to consider a potential shift towards a percentage-based tax model instead.
But while California officials seem optimistic about the state’s lithium tax, industry players have stated that the tax would likely do more harm than good. According to Controlled Thermal Resources Ltd, the lithium tax would force the company to miss its deadlines to deliver key battery components to electric vehicle makers like General Motors in 2024 and Stellantis NV the year after.
EnergySource Minerals, on the other hand, has noted that its discussions with potential financiers and an automaker have been halted due to the lithium tax.
Rod Colwell, Controlled Thermal’s chief executive, also stated that California’s lithium tax would be devastating for industry players because it would make locally-produced lithium more expensive than those exported from countries like China.
“Supporting a tax that ensures lithium imports from China are less expensive for auto manufacturers to secure will devastate this promising Californian industry before it has begun,” he said.
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