Automakers accelerate drive to secure battery raw materials

Rising demand for electric vehicles (EV) around the world is encouraging automakers such as Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) and Stellantis NV (STLA.MI) to step up efforts to secure raw materials needed for making batteries.

Following are some of the deals major automakers have announced with suppliers and miners:

TESLA (TSLA.O):

26-Aug-2022 – Panasonic Holdings Corp (6752.T), a supplier to Tesla, is in talks to build an additional EV battery plant in the United States at a cost of about $4 billion.

01-Mar-2022 – Australia’s Core Lithium (CXO.AX) will supply up to 110,000 dry metric tonnes of Spodumene concentrate, a chief source of lithium, over four years starting in the second half of 2023.

01-Nov-2021 – China’s Ganfeng Lithium (002460.SZ) will supply undisclosed volumes of battery-grade lithium for three years starting 2022

22-July-2021 – Australia’s BHP Group (BHP.AX) will supply nickel from its plants in Western Australia. Quantities, timing not disclosed.

VOLKSWAGEN (VOWG_p.DE):

23-Aug-2022 – Volkswagen intensified efforts to secure access to key battery materials lithium, nickel and cobalt by striking a cooperation agreement with top supplier Canada. No financial details were disclosed.

08-Dec-2021 – Vulcan Energy Resources (VUL.AX) will provide lithium hydroxide for five years starting 2026. Vulcan extracts lithium from geothermal sources in Germany’s Upper Rhine Valley region.

08-Dec-2021 – Belgium’s Umicore (UMI.BR) will supply cathode materials for Volkswagen’s European battery cell factories under a joint venture. It will start production in 2025 with 20 gigawatt hours for the carmaker’s plant in Salzgitter, Germany.

STELLANTIS (STLA.MI):

24-June-2022 – Stellantis will invest 50 million euros ($50.3 million) to buy an 8% stake in German-Australian start-up miner Vulcan (VUL.AX), becoming its second largest shareholder and extending a lithium supply agreement to 10 years.

2-June-2022 – Controlled Thermal Resources will supply up to 25,000 metric tons per year of lithium hydroxide over 10 years from a project in California.

29-Nov-2021 – Preliminary deal with Vulcan (VUL.AX) for lithium produced using geothermal energy from Germany. Over five years starting in 2026, Vulcan will supply 81,000-99,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium hydroxide.

RENAULT (RENA.PA):

1-June-2022 – Moroccan miner Managem (MNG.CS) will supply 5,000 tonnes of low carbon cobalt sulphate under a seven-year deal starting from 2025.

21-Nov-2021 – Vulcan (VUL.AX) will supply 26,000-32,000 metric tonnes of battery-grade lithium chemicals for initial six years starting 2026.

08-Oct-2021 – MoU with Finnish nickel and cobalt miner Terrafame to supply nickel sulphate. Quantities and timeline not disclosed.

MERCEDES BENZ (MBGn.DE):

23-Aug-2022 – Mercedes-Benz strikes cooperation agreement with Canada to secure access to lithium, nickel and cobalt. It will explore a strategic partnership with Rock Tech Lithium (RCK.V) which would supply the carmaker and its battery partners with up to 10,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide a year from 2026.

BMW (BMWG.DE):

5-Aug-2022 – BMW signs a non-binding memorandum of understanding with European Lithium Ltd (EUR.AX) for the supply of lithium hydroxide.

7-June-2022 – U.S. startup Lilac Solutions, backed by BMW, was competing for mining partnerships in Bolivia to tap into the world’s largest resources of lithium.

TOYOTA (7203.T):

1-Aug-2022 – A joint venture of Toyota and Panasonic (6752.T) will buy lithium from ioneer Ltd’s (INR.AX) Rhyolite Ridge mining project in Nevada to build EV batteries in the United States.

04-Oct-2021 – BHP Group (BHP.AX) will supply nickel sulphate from Western Australia to Toyota and Panasonic’s joint venture. Details were not disclosed.

GENERAL MOTORS (GM.N)

3-Aug-2022 – GM makes prepayment of $198 million to Livent Corp (LTHM.N) for a guaranteed six-year supply of lithium from 2025 at a contractual price per tonne. Volume not disclosed.

02-July-2021 – GM will make a “multimillion-dollar investment” in and help develop Controlled Thermal Resources Ltd’s Hell’s Kitchen geothermal brine project near California’s Salton Sea. The project could be producing 60,000 tonnes of lithium – enough to make roughly 6 million EVs – by mid-2024.

12-April-2022 – Miner Glencore (GLEN.L) will supply cobalt, secured from its Murrin Murrin operation in Australia, to be used in GM’s Ultium battery cathodes. Details were not disclosed.

FORD (F.N)

22-July-2022 – Ioneer Ltd signs binding offtake agreement with Ford to supply lithium from Rhyolite Ridge in Nevada.

14-July-2022 – Ford Motor, SK On and SK Battery America create joint venture to build and operate an EV battery plant in Tennessee and two plants in Kentucky.

29-June-2022 – Australia’s Liontown Resources (LTR.AX) will supply up to 150,000 dry metric tonnes per year of spodumene concentrate, a source of lithium, from its Kathleen Valley project in Western Australia for five years starting 2024.

11-Apr-2022 – Ford signs preliminary deal to purchase 25,000 tonnes of lithium annually from Lake Resources’ (LKE.AX) Kachi project in northern Argentina.

22-Sept-2021 – Ford partners with startup Redwood Materials to form a “closed loop” or circular supply chain for electric vehicle batteries, from raw materials to recycling.

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