Specialty chemicals company Albemarle Corp. is adding 170 jobs at its lithium-processing facility in Cleveland County over the next five years, doubling employment there even as it creates 30 new jobs at its corporate headquarters in Charlotte.
“Albemarle is pleased to build upon our recent corporate headquarters relocation to Charlotte and invest in expanding our footprint in Kings Mountain,” said Luke Kissam, Albemarle’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “The functions we are adding at Kings Mountain will enable us to grow key business functions that support current global operations and position Albemarle to pursue future growth opportunities.”
Salaries for the new jobs in Cleveland County, including operations and engineering services, will vary, but are expected to average $78,225 a year. The county average is $36,576.
Albemarle, which specializes in producing chemicals such as lithium for batteries, plans to add 170 jobs and invest $10.5 million over five years at its Kings Mountain operations center in Cleveland County, which now employs 150 people. It is also adding 30 jobs at its corporate headquarters in Charlotte, which currently employs 130 people. The company moved its headquarters to Charlotte from Baton Rouge, La., in 2015.
Albemarle is a global specialty chemicals company with leading positions in lithium, bromine and refining catalysts. The company’s products power critical industries, from energy and communications, to transportation and electronics.
“North Carolina continues to be a leader in the chemical science industry because of our world-class workforce,” state Gov. Roy Cooper said in announcing the expansion. “Albemarle Corporation’s decision to expand in North Carolina bolsters this thriving industry in our state.”
Albemarle’s expansion in Cleveland County is supported by incentives from Cleveland County and the city of Kings Mountain, as well as a state Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) of up to $4.3 million. Over the course of the JDIG grant’s five-year term, the project will grow the state’s economy by an estimated $390 million. Using a formula that considers new tax revenues generated by the new jobs, the JDIG agreement will reimburse Albemarle up to $4.3 million over 12 years, if the company meets all its job creation and investment targets.
Because Albemarle is expanding its existing operations in Cleveland County, the company’s JDIG agreement also calls for moving as much as $479,300 into the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account. The Utility Account helps rural communities finance necessary infrastructure upgrades to attract future business.
“We welcome Albemarle Corporation’s expansion here in Cleveland County,” said state Sen. Warren Daniel. “These jobs and capital investment are a significant boost for our economy. Albemarle’s success will yield great dividends for our workers and our community.”
Business Recruitment Manager Ryan Nance of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina supported this project, in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the North Carolina Community College System, Gardner-Webb University, the city of Kings Mountain, Cleveland County and the Cleveland County Economic Development Partnership.