Posted: 4:57 p.m. Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Battery manufacturer moves HQ into Kings Mountain

By Ken Lemon

KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. —

A company that makes batteries announced Wednesday it will bring 100 high-paying jobs to Kings Mountain.

The mayor of Kings Mountain says that sound means new hope for his town.

The city, once build around textiles, still has a lot of bare mills and unused loading docks. The mayor said the $75 million expansion project shows that big businesses belong in Kings Mountain.

"Just to locate in Kings Mountain makes us so very proud," said Mayor Rick Murphrey.

In two days, Rockwood Lithium will hold a grand opening celebration for its expanded operation in Kings Mountain. The company makes materials for a variety of batteries used in everything from electric-powered cars to cell phones.

The company’s global headquarters will be just off Interstate 85 and comes with 100 new jobs. The company said all of the jobs pay well, too.

“It means a lot to our community. We have gone through some tough economic times," Murphrey said.

"We are adding scientists, technicians, people that have unique operational skills," said John Mitchell, the president of North America Rockwood Lithium.

The company has already hired about 75 workers, but they believe the expanding industry will bring even more jobs.

"This site could be one of the most significant lithium sites in the world for advanced batteries," Mitchell said.

Rockwood will do everything from productions of materials to research and development. Rockwood managers hope to be up to full staff and at peak production by mid-July. 

Last month, Cleveland County’s unemployment rate grew to 10.2 percent, a jump from 9.8 percent in April.

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