Company Planning To Build Lithium Refinery In Oklahoma

A new company is planning to build a lithium refinery in Oklahoma.

Thursday, November 23rd 2023, 4:13 pm

By: Emory Bryan, News On 6


A Connecticut-based energy startup company plans to build a lithium refinery in Oklahoma, using a process to derive lithium from oil and gas production wastewater. Stardust Energy says the refinery would be built in two phases in an industrial park near Tulsa. Stardust hasn’t yet publicly announced the site, according to company officials, because of a pending merger and stock exchange listing next year.

Stardust Energy CEO Roshan Pujari said Friday his company was addressing a shortage of refinery capacity to process raw material that is readily available in the United States.

His company, he said, intends to use the Kerr-McClellan Navigation Channel for shipping lithium brine water to the refinery and to ship battery-grade lithium out. “What Stardust is doing is recycling this wastewater of the oil and gas industry for supply feedstock for lithium products,” he said.

Pujari said the Oklahoma site was ideal for the project because of access to the raw materials and a workforce trained in energy production. "We will seek to create hundreds of jobs for Oklahoma in the process, and well paying, high paying, engineering jobs.”

Company documents say the refinery would be one of the largest in the U.S., producing 50,000 metric tons annually, with the advantage of a location near battery manufacturers.

The documents say the project would be supported by state and municipal incentives, and Pujari said the federal government would likely add incentives because of the national security value of a U.S.-based lithium refinery. That is helping the company raise money, he said. "We see tremendous investor appetite from the financials as well, as strategics, given the national security priority of domestic manufacturing of lithium."

Pujari would not specify where the refinery would be built but said the company had secured 66 acres of “shovel-ready” land with plentiful power from renewable energy. "We like the Oklahoma area because there's a high degree of sustainable power from wind or solar, so we can fuel our refinery with a lot of sustainable power, and we're very low emission. Ours is a chemical process that creates very low emission and zero liquid discharge,” he said. 

Mid-America Industrial Park in Pryor has been recruiting electric vehicle-related production and is the site of a Canoo battery module assembly plant. Canoo has a vehicle assembly plant in Oklahoma City and recently announced plans to expand there to bring production from other states into Oklahoma. "We see Oklahoma cultivating a strong ecosystem for EVs and the energy transition,” said Pujari. 

A spokesperson for Tulsa Ports said it was not involved with the project.

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