CLARKSVILLE, TN ( CLARKSVILLE NOW ) – LG Chem announced today that it will build a $3.2 billion cathode manufacturing plant in Clarksville, creating 860 new jobs, 200 of which will pay more than $100,000 a year.
It is the largest foreign direct investment announced in Tennessee history.
The plant, which will create a key component for electric vehicle batteries, will be the largest of its kind in the U.S., covering 420 acres, with a target of producing 120,000 tons of cathode material per year by 2027, according to a statement by LG. A Chem company based in South Korea.
That’s enough cathode material to power the batteries in 1.2 million pure electric vehicles (EVs) that travel 310 miles each year. Construction of the plant will begin in the first quarter of 2023, and mass production will begin in the second half of 2025.
Governor Bill Lee said in the announcement, “LG Chem’s decision to invest $3.2 billion in Clarksville is a testament to Tennessee’s unique business environment, skilled workforce and leadership in the automotive industry. “I thank this company for creating more than 850 new jobs to empower Tennesseans across Montgomery County.”
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LG Chem’s $3.2 billion investment is nearly three times the $1.2 billion announced by Hemlock Semiconductor in 2008.
This will be the third EV battery factory announced for Clarksville in recent years, with Microvast’s previous announcements of two EV battery plants under development.
“Montgomery County, Tennessee is primed and ready for the electric vehicle industry,” said County Mayor Wes Golden. “This is the largest investment ever made in Montgomery County, and we are taking advantage of this opportunity. Thank you to those who work so hard on the front lines and behind the scenes to make this happen for Middle Tennessee and our community. Bringing LG Chem is a deliberate effort by state and local economic development boards to bring high-quality employment to Montgomery County.”
Number of very high paying jobs
The plant will create 860 jobs with wages starting at $24 an hour, according to Clarksville-Montgomery County Economic Development Council officials. About 200 of those jobs will pay more than $100,000 a year, the EDC told Clarksville Now.
The jobs include production duties, plus office/management and administration roles, EDC said.
“This project is a transformer for our society!” said Shea Hopkins, Vice President of Industrial Development for the Clarksville-Montgomery County EDC. “It brings a lot of high-skilled and high-paying jobs to our area. IDB is also very pleased that LG Chem is committed to shaping the future of the Middle Tennessee region by investing in diversity, equity, inclusion and meaningful community engagement.”
The salary ranges will be especially helpful for Soldiers transferring from Fort Campbell and seeking higher paying positions.
“On behalf of EDC, I am pleased to share that the positions that LG Chem brings with this project announcement will increase wage opportunities for our community. This project will add diverse skill sets and advanced manufacturing roles to the local workforce, while providing an exciting career option for transitioning military personnel seeking a competitive salary,” said Buck Dellinger, CEO of the local EDC.
Ideal site for transactions
Company officials held a signing ceremony this afternoon in Nashville with Lee, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Stuart McWhorter and LG Chem CEO Shin Hak-cheol, among others.
“We are grateful that LG Chem will expand its investment in Clarksville, providing a historic level of capital investment and hundreds of new, high-paying jobs for families in our growing community,” said Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts. “This announcement is great news for our community and further proof that Clarksville-Montgomery County is on the right track in our economic development efforts.”
For LG Chem, Tennessee was the best choice because of its proximity to key customers, ease of transportation of raw materials – the area borders a rail line and is only a few or miles from Interstate 24 – and the active cooperation of state and local governments. .
“In addition to the benefits of investing in manufacturing on U.S. soil, LG Chem envisions the Tennessee site to be a supply chain hub where materials and recycling partners work together to supply global customers,” the company said in an announcement.
What will they do?
The new facility will produce advanced nickel, cobalt, manganese and aluminum (NCMA) cathode materials for next-generation EV batteries with improved battery capacity and stability. NCMA cathode materials are one of the most important ingredients in determining the battery capacity and life of electric vehicles.
“The new facility will be designed with the environment and future clean energy needs in mind. LG Chem will partner with Tennessee’s energy suppliers to meet the demands of customers, including battery and electric vehicle manufacturers, for more renewable energy sources,” the announcement said. “The operation of the new facility will be based entirely on renewable energy provided by solar and hydroelectric power.”
LG Chem and LG Electronics are both part of LG Corporation. In 2017, LG Electronics announced its Clarksville plant, a $360 million smart factory that makes front- and top-loading washing machines. About 1000 employees are currently working in that enterprise.
About the site
For several weeks, companies have been actively involved in the 420-acre Allensworth Farm property located east of Interstate 24 exit 4 in Montgomery County. The property is roughly bounded by Charles Bell Road to the south, Hampton Station Road to the east and the railway line. tracks in the northwest.
The Clarksville-Montgomery County Industrial Development Board exercised its option on the property in May 2019. The property was later purchased by Montgomery County last year for $18 million.
Making way for the prospect of LG Chem made some adjustments. The company’s operations require a structure up to 200 feet tall, which is 100 feet higher than the height allowed under the M-2 industrial zoning in Montgomery County. Workers will work at a maximum “living height” of 140 feet. The local zoning variance was approved Nov. 10, according to Rod Streeter at Montgomery County Building and Codes.
Investment in Clarksville
Clarksville has several major industrial projects recently announced or under construction, two of which are in the EV battery sector. These include:
“An investment like this is a game changer that we don’t take for granted,” Golden said. “We look forward to building a lasting relationship with LG Chem and helping them become a successful partner in the community. Montgomery County has a rich history with a bright future.”
Jake Foster contributed to this report.