It is the largest foreign direct investment announced in Tennessee’s history.
The plant, which will create a key component for electric vehicle batteries, will be the largest of its kind in the United States, covering 420 acres with a goal of producing 120,000 tons of cathode material annually by 2027, according to the state government. announcement made by LG Chem, a company based in South Korea.
That’s enough cathode material per year to power the batteries of 1.2 million pure electric vehicles (EVs) with a range of 310 miles per charge. Construction of the plant will begin in the first quarter of 2023, with mass production starting in the second half of 2025.
“LG Chem’s decision to invest $3.2 billion in Clarksville is a testament to Tennessee’s unparalleled business climate, skilled workforce and leading position in the automotive industry,” Governor Bill Lee said in the announcement. . “I thank this company for creating more than 850 new jobs to provide opportunities for Tennesseeans throughout Montgomery County.”
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At $3.2 billion, LG Chem’s investment is nearly three times Hemlock Semiconductor’s $1.2 billion investment announced in 2008.
This will be the third EV battery facility for Clarksville announced in recent years, with earlier announcements from Microvast of its two EV battery facilities 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 seizing this opportunity. Thank you to those who have worked so hard on the front lines and behind the scenes to make this a reality for Middle Tennessee and our community. Bringing LG Chem was a deliberate effort by state and local economic development councils to bring high quality employment to Montgomery County.”
High number of well-paying jobs
The plant will create 860 jobs, with starting wages of $24 an hour, according to Clarksville-Montgomery County Economic Development Board officials. About 200 of those jobs will pay more than $100,000 a year, EDC told Clarksville Now.
The jobs will include manufacturing positions, as well as office/administration and management roles, the EDC said.
“This project is transformative for our community!” said Shea Hopkins, vice president of industrial development, Clarksville-Montgomery County EDC. “It brings a large number of high-skilled, high-wage jobs to our area. The IDB is also especially 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 useful for soldiers moving out of Fort Campbell and looking for higher salary positions.
“On behalf of EDC, I am happy to share that the positions offered by LG Chem with this project announcement will increase salary opportunities for our community. This project will add diverse skills and advanced manufacturing roles to the local workforce while providing an exciting career option for the military transition looking for a competitive salary,” said Buck Dellinger, CEO of local EDC.
Ideal site for operations
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 along with hundreds of new high-paying jobs for families in our growing community,” said Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts. “This announcement is another good news for our community and further demonstrates that Clarksville-Montgomery County is on the right track in our economic development efforts.”
For LG Chem, Tennessee was the best choice due to its proximity to key customers, ease of transportation of raw materials (the site is bordered by a railroad line and is only a couple miles from Interstate 24), and cooperation active by state and local governments.
“In addition to the benefits realized by investing in manufacturing on US soil, LG Chem expects the Tennessee site to be the supply chain hub where materials and recycling partners work together to supply global customers,” the company’s announcement said. society.
What will they do
The new facility will produce advanced nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminum (NCMA) cathode materials for next-generation EV batteries with improved capacity and stability. NCMA cathode materials are among the most critical ingredients in determining EV battery capacity and life.
“The new facility will be designed with the environment and future clean energy needs in mind. LG Chem will work with Tennessee energy suppliers to address customer requests, including battery and electric vehicle makers, for more renewable energy sources,” the announcement reads. ‘renewable energy provided by solar and hydroelectric energy’.
LG Chem and LG Electronics are both part of LG Corporation. LG Electronics announced its Clarksville plant in 2017, a $360 million smart factory that produces top- and front-loading washing machines. That facility now employs about 1,000 workers.
For several weeks, businesses have been actively recruiting on the 420-acre Allensworth Farm property in Montgomery County, just east of Interstate 24 Exit 4. The property is roughly bounded by Charles Bell Road to the south, Hampton Station Road to the east and railroad tracks to the northwest.
The Clarksville-Montgomery County Industrial Development Board exercised its option on the property in May 2019. The property was then purchased by Montgomery County last year for $18 million.
It took some tweaking to make room for LG Chem’s perspective. The company’s operations require a structure up to 200 feet tall, which is 100 feet above the height allowed by M-2 industrial zoning in Montgomery County. Workers would operate at a maximum “habitable height” of 140 feet. The local zoning change was approved Nov. 10, according to Rod Streeter at the Montgomery County Building and Codes.
Investment in Clarksville
Clarksville has several large industrial projects recently announced or under construction, two of them in the electric vehicle battery sector. These include:
“An investment like this is a game changer that we don’t take for granted,” Golden said. “We will work to build lasting relationships with LG Chem and help them become successful partners within the community. Montgomery County is rich in history with a bright future ahead.”
Jake Foster contributed to this report.