Eye on Lithium: GM’s trying to one-up rival Ford with two new EV supply deals
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All your ASX lithium news for Wednesday, July 27.
As a global recession looms carmakers are continuing their scramble for raw materials needed to power EV fleets.
Last week we saw Ford hand out MOU’s like it was Oprah and this week we see General Motors – the largest automaker in the US – reveal two new deals for the supplies of raw materials needed to meet its goal of 1 million units of EV capacity in North America by the end of 2025.
One of the deals is with LG Chem, the largest Korean chemical company, for the supply of more than 950,000t of cathode active material (CAM) over an eight-year period. That’s enough for roughly 8 million units of EV production.
CAM is a key battery material consisting of components like processed nickel, lithium and other materials representing about 40% of the cost of a battery cell.
The two companies will also explore the localisation of a CAM production facility in North America by the end of 2025.
“This agreement builds on GM’s commitment to create a strong, sustainable battery raw material supply chain to support our fast-growing EV production needs,” GM vice president global purchasing and supply chain Jeff Morrison says.
General Motors’s second agreement is with NYSE-listed Livent, which will see the lithium producer supply the automaker with battery-grade litium hydroxide made primarily from lithium extracted at Livent’s brine-based operations in South America.
In this instance, Livent will provide battery-grade lithium hydroxide to GM over a six year period beginning in 2025 with the goal of transitioning 100% of Livent’s downstream lithium hydroxide processing for GM to North America.
The agreement is expected to help secure supply for GM while assisting Livent in expanding its North American capabilities.
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37 lithium companies finished in the green, 46 flatlined and 49 ended in the red.
PAM has defined an exploration target of 8 to 14Mt at a grade ranging between 0.5% to 0.8% lithium oxide in accordance with the JORC resource at the Bang I Tum Lithium prospect in southern Thailand.
The exploration target is reported ahead of a drilling program which is expected to begin at Bang I Tum in roughly two months.
PAM also recently reported a mineral resource of 10.4Mt containing about 113,000LCE at the Reung Kiet lithium prospect, southwest of the Bang I Tum Lithium prospect.
“The drilling results and subsequent mineral resource at Reung Kiet, and the fact that the Bang I Tum Exploration Target is drill supported, gives us a higher degree of confidence in the quantum of the exploration target,” managing director Paul Lock says.
“Our objective is to generate an ore reserve sufficient to meet our initial production target of 10,000tpa LCE for minimum 10 years – we are on track to achieve this and once achieved our objective is to add to it.”
LEL is poised to start drilling at its Solaroz Lithium Brine Project in Argentina as it prepares to wrap up geophysical exploration.
Passive seismic surveys are now largely complete across all Solaroz while transient electromagnetic (TEM) surveys are also well advanced with collected data currently being interpreted.
The company has secured a drill rig and plans to start its 5,000m drill programme once it completes the interpretation of data from both the seismic and TEM surveys, which are designed to identify the most prospective lithium brine targets.
PNN has a bunch of projects including the Salta Lithium Brine Project in the Lithium Triangle in Argentina, the Eyre Peninsula Kaolin Halloysite Project on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, the Musgrave Nickel-Copper-Cobalt-PGE Project in northern South Australia and the Santa Ines Copper-Gold Project in Argentina.
In June, plans for a resource definition drilling program at the Incahuasi salar within the Salta Project kicked off with hopes of expanding the scale and scope of the Salta Project to support future development.
Drilling at Incahuasi is planned to consist of two diamond drill holes for a total of 1,000m, designed to deliver a maiden JORC resource.
All requisite permits for drilling have been granted, and site access and set-up is underway.