Nueces County votes to create TIRZ for Tesla’s proposed lithium refinery in Texas

tesla modely
Credit: Eric G

Commissioners of Nueces County have voted in favor of establishing a tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ) in an area of the county where Tesla is proposing to develop a lithium refinery.

The creation of the TIRZ in Nueces County depends on whether the EV maker selects the site for its lithium refining facility. Tesla could invest $375 million in the facility, creating 250 construction jobs and 162 permanent jobs.

If this happens, the county would designate a portion of Tesla’s property tax revenue that can only be used to reinvest into the zone.

Tesla’s proposed location is south of Robstown, where it would produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide and be the first facility of its kind in North America. The finished product would be shipped to the company’s battery manufacturing plants, as revealed in documents submitted to the Robstown Independent School District.

The proposed plant will also process other materials used to make EV batteries. Construction could start as early as the fourth quarter of 2022, and operations could begin in the fourth quarter of 2024.

The vote for the TIRZ creation was 4-0, with a commissioner recusing themselves to avoid a conflict of interest. The zone will be located near US Highway 77 and County Road 28, as reported by Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

However, there are concerns from the community. Some speakers at the meeting wanted to know if the residents of neighboring towns had been adequately informed of Tesla’s proposal and the hearing. Other attendants worried about the project’s impact on the community’s water situation.

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Tesla is seeking up to $16.2 million in tax breaks over ten years.

Tesla will not rely on its lithium refining capacity alone. Core Lithium will send its first lithium shipment to Tesla this year. The company also signed a 5-year lithium supply deal with Liontown in Australia.