Eye on Lithium: EV giant Stellantis secures offtake from Salton Sea lithium project
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All your ASX lithium news for Friday, June 3.
The world’s 4th largest carmaker Stellantis has signed a 10-year lithium hydroxide offtake agreement with Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) for electric vehicle (EV) production.
CTR will supply up to 25,000 mt/year from its Hells Kitchen Project in the Salton Sea in California, but no pricing information around the contract was supplied.
It’s a move which the companies say sets a sustainability benchmark for the US EV battery supply chain, because the project will recover lithium from geothermal brines using renewable energy and steam to produce battery-grade lithium products in an integrated, closed-loop process, eliminating the need for evaporation brine ponds, open-pit mines, and fossil-fuel processing.
U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo welcomed the statement – and even the White House said the agreement to purchase geothermal brine “sets the U.S. on a path to being a leading producer of sustainably sourced, low carbon lithium.”
Putting more EVs on the road is essential part of meeting @POTUS’ climate goals and protecting the planet. Today’s announcement from Stellantis and CTR will help the U.S lead the push for sustainably sourced power for EVs.
— Secretary Gina Raimondo (@SecRaimondo) June 2, 2022
Having a sustainable supply of lithium hydroxide supports Stellantis’ US plans to have more than 25 all-new battery electric vehicle launches and 50% BEV sales by 2030.
“In the fight against global warming, bolstering our battery electric vehicle supply chain to support our bold electrification ambitions is absolutely critical,” Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said.
“Ensuring we have a robust, competitive, and low-carbon lithium supply from various partners around the world will enable us to meet our aggressive electric vehicle production plans in a responsible manner.”
Last week, Tavares flagged that he expects a shortage of EV batteries by 2024-25, followed by a lack of raw materials for the vehicles that will slow availability and adoption of EVs by 2027-2028.
In February, Stellantis and lithium-ion battery developer LG Energy Solution revealed plans to build Canada’s first large-scale electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility in Windsor, Ontario targeting a battery production capacity of more than 45 GWh/year.
And the company also struck a similar offtake agreement with Vulcan Energy (ASX:VUL) in November last year, with Vulcan to supply 81,000-99,000 mt of lithium hydroxide to support its EV manufacturing in Europe.
Globally, Stellantis aims to have annual BEV sales of 5 million vehicles by 2030, reaching 100% of passenger car sales in Europe and 50% of passenger car and light-duty truck sales in North America.
To achieve this, the company is planning a battery capacity of 400 GWh to be supported by five battery manufacturing plants in Europe and North America and additional supply contracts.
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A total of 66 stocks were in the green today, 29 were in the red and 33 failed to move the needle.
The company has nabbed three exploration licences at its Ravensthorpe REE-lithium-nickel project in Western Australia’s Albany Fraser region – taking the total number to 11 licences covering around 1,400km2.
The area is prospective for a suite of battery metals and critical minerals including lithium, rare earth elements (REE), nickel-cobalt-PGE and graphite.
Notably, the Young River project area is around 70km east of the Mt Cattlin lithium and tantalum mining operation operated by Allkem Ltd (ASX:AKE) – which has a total reported mineral resource of 11Mt @ 1.2% Li2O and 151ppm Ta2O5 for total contained metal of 131,800t Li2O and 3.7Mlbs Ta2O5.
And MTM says historical exploration identified both lithium and rare earth element anomalies on the new ground that have never been followed up.
Aurumin has flagged anomalous lithium and pathfinder results from first pass orientation drilling at its Mt Palmer project, with low level (>100ppm Li) lithium anomalism, up to 370ppm Li, returned across multiple holes.
“For a first pass, we are encouraged to have intersected multiple pegmatite units with an indication of fertility for lithium,” MD Brad Valiukas says.
“The pegmatites are fractionated, and we are developing the vectors to hone in further.
“Environmental works to allow further PoWs (drill permits) are now completed, and we expect to be back active on the ground at Mt Palmer in the next couple of months.”