Clean energy journalism for a cooler tomorrow

This story is part of our special series "Made in the USA: Ramping up clean energy manufacturing." Read more.

Video: Canary Media takes a hike to visit an abandoned lithium mine

The long-dormant operation in Kings Mountain, N.C. once played a key role in the global lithium industry. Now it could be used to supply Southern battery factories.
By Julian Spector

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A man with reddish hair wearing a blue baseball cap and sunglasses points at a spot on a trail map display
(Barbara Lantz/Binh Nguyen/Canary Media)

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Canary Media thanks KORE Power for its support of clean energy manufacturing week.

Today, China controls most of the global lithium supply chain, but it wasn’t always like that.

The North Carolina town of Kings Mountain is home to what was one of the world’s biggest hard-rock lithium mines back in the Cold War years. But the operation shut down in 1988, and drop by drop, the open pit it left behind filled with rainwater.

Now the Southeastern states are building a Battery Belt full of lithium-ion battery factories and electric-vehicle assembly plants. The long-dormant North Carolina lithium mines are strategically placed to supply that booming manufacturing base with domestically sourced materials if the mining companies can secure the necessary permits. This could make the clean-energy supply chain more secure and lower carbon emissions from the extraction and processing of lithium.

Canary Media visited the abandoned mine to get a closer look at the once-great facility and examine the role it could play in the region’s clean-energy supply chain. Check it out below.

Headquartered in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho with clients on every continent, KORE Power provides functional solutions to meet the growing demand for green economic expansion and a decarbonized future. As a fully integrated provider of battery cells and clean energy technology and solutions, KORE drives the energy transition through direct access to superior tech, clean energy manufacturing, and unmatched support for clean energy jobs and resilient, sustainable communities worldwide. KORE Power’s robust portfolio provides the commercial, industrial, utility and defense markets with next-generation battery cells, advanced energy storage systems that scale to grid+, intuitive asset management, and EV power and charging infrastructure support.

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Julian Spector is a senior reporter at Canary Media. He reports on batteries, long-duration energy storage, low-carbon hydrogen and clean energy breakthroughs around the world.