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Residents worry about keeping homes if lithium mining restarts in Kings Mountain

CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. — Albemarle Corp. wants to restart mining for lithium at a site along Interstate 85 in Kings Mountain that shut down in the 1980s.

[ALSO READ: Piedmont Lithium presents Gaston County mining plans, neighbors voice concerns]

A technical center along Raven Circle is still on the 800-acre plot of land.

Residents who live around the proposed site are concerned they won’t be able to find a new place to live if they are forced to move from their homes.

Debra Dixon said she has been told her family’s home along Parkgrace Road is just outside of the proposed mining site, but not quite far enough away to be spared from its impact.

“I have a lot of concerns because we have had this place paid off (for) about 15 or 20 years,” Dixon said.

Dixon said she has no issues with turning the tract of land near her home back into an active mining site.

She is concerned that a potential buyout of her property won’t be enough for her family to afford a new mortgage elsewhere.

They want a fair trade.

“It’s the only way we can do it,” Dixon said.

There were not any residents in the area when the mine shut down decades ago.

Albemarle Corp. now wants to restart mining for lithium, which is used to make long-lasting batteries for electric cars.

The current median price of homes sold in Cleveland County is $196,000 and is increasing, according to Realtor.com.

Many people say that finding a new home is difficult.

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“Even if it come up for sale, you’re in a bidding war,” resident Henry Harleb said.

Harleb attended a public hearing on the plans Monday night and has some of the same concerns as other residents.

He said some of his neighbors are renting homes for as little as $450 a month.

The average rent in Kings Mountain is double that, according to RentCafe.com.

“I don’t know where they would go,” he said.

The community meeting Monday night was one of many that Albemarle Corp. plans to have as they go through the process of restarting the mine.

[ALSO READ: Residents push back as Lithium Piedmont aims to expand mining plans in Gaston County]

Company officials said they couldn’t answer all of the questions in one meeting.

Harleb said they didn’t talk about purchasing homes, yet.

People who live farther out also have questions about the impact on air and water quality.

Watch the video below: ‘Sacred land’: Woman concerned lithium mining will disturb gravesites

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