Albemarle Corporation puts pause on $1.6 billion Richburg investment

CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – Albemarle Corporation announced plans this week to cut jobs and postpone several of projects in an effort to reduce costs.

The billion dollar corporation which works in special chemical manufacturing was working to bring a mega-flex lithium conversion facility to Richburg in Chester County, but now says that $1.3 billion investment is on hold.

Albemarle CEO Kent Masters says these actions will allow the corporation to achieve near-term growth while also preserving future opportunities. Masters says the company is working to bring its expenditures between $1.6 and $1.8 billion, down from the $2.1 billion Albemarle spent in 2023.

Kris Phillips the Assistant Director for Chester County Economic Development, which landed the Conversion Facility investment, says its not worried by the postponement as Albemarle staff are still working closely to ensure the facility gets finalized.

“They’ve assured us that a big priority for Albemarle is still that lithium mine in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, and in order to have a place to take that lithium to, they’re going to need this Richburg plant, so as of today everything sounds really positive. They’re still planning on breaking ground on their site at some point this year,” Phillips said.

Economic Development staffed added that Albemarle is still working on site preparation for the conversion facility, and while work may slow, officials have no doubts about the corporation’s investment that is set to bring more than 300 new jobs to Chester County

Update: Albemarle released the following statement to CN2 News.

“When there are shifts in the markets we serve, we adjust accordingly. Looking ahead to 2024, there are certain capital projects that do not need to grow as fast in the short term, including the Richburg ‘mega-flex’ facility. While we re-evaluate timelines associated with the project, Albemarle remains focused on proceeding with permitting.”
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