Negotiations for Tesla’s proposed lithium refinery in Texas moves behind closed doors

Tesla and Nueces County Commissioners are moving behind closed doors to negotiate further on the automaker’s proposed lithium refinery in Robstown, Texas, just two months after the proposed project was revealed.

At a Nueces County Commissioners meeting on Wednesday, a unanimous vote was cast to move the ongoing negotiations between county leaders and Tesla to executive session, according to a report from 3 News.

Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales said this is a typical legal procedure.

“You don’t typically, put your lawyer on camera to give you legal advice that your supposed to listen to that helps you formulate your opinion. Because your negotiating with the other,” she said.

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

A TIRZ means that a portion of Tesla’s property tax revenue can only be used to reinvest into the zone.

Tesla is also seeking up to $16.2 million in tax breaks over ten years from the Robstown Independent School District.

A final decision on the TIRZ is expected to happen on December 7, when according to a meeting notice the County will consider approval of the agreement at the Nueces County County Courthouse at 3:30pm local time.

Tesla is proposing to build the facility south of Robstown, where it would produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide. Upon completion it would become the first facility of its kind in North America.

The finished product would be shipped to Tesla’s battery manufacturing plants, as revealed in documents submitted to the Robstown Independent School District.

If all goes well construction of the $365 million project could start before the end of the year, and operations could begin in the fourth quarter of 2024.

It will create 250 construction jobs and another 162 high-paying permanent jobs in the area.

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