Our History

The Albemarle Kings Mountain site is pioneering new and better ways to move, power and protect and connect by producing a wide range of new lithium-based materials for battery applications and lithium-based chemicals.

Kings Mountain has a long and proud history as a mining town. For more than a century, this region of North Carolina has been known for its geologically rich resources.

Lithium mining started at Kings Mountain in 1937 as there was a growing need for lithium as a raw material with the world progressing into World War II. Lithium was used by the Army, Navy, and in the industrial production of materials like aluminum and steel to strengthen their structural properties.

Notably, lithium was used as part of a lubricant for airplane engines that could withstand extreme temperatures necessitated by the planes climbing and descending through cold and warm air. It was also used to create the hydrogen gas used by the Army and Navy's observation balloons.

The mine continued playing a role in national defense when it was contracted by the Atomic Energy Commission to supply Li-6 during the Cold War era.

The mine continued operation into the 1980s until the company that owned the mine — Rockwood — paused production to focus on resources in Chile. Albemarle acquired Kings Mountain as part of the Rockwood Holdings acquisition in 2015.

Today, the Kings Mountain location not only houses a domestic lithium resource, it also includes our 5,500-metric-ton conversion site that produces battery-grade lithium hydroxide for customers around the world.