General Motors has committed to a $650 million investment into a U.S. lithium mine as it looks to secure the raw materials it needs for its electric vehicle batteries.
The car manufacturer will initially invest $320 million by mid-2023 for the exclusive rights to the first stage of lithium production at the Thacker Pass site operated by Lithium America in Nevada. This first stage of the investment accounts for almost 10 percent of the miner’s shares and an additional $330 million will follow at a later date.
Lithium America expects to begin production in the second half of 2026 and says the mine will provide enough lithium for up to 1 million electric vehicles a year. The mine is located within an extinct supervolcano known as McDermitt Caldera. It is the largest source of lithium identified in the U.S.
“It’s a landmark transaction, and it certainly won’t be the last major supply chain announcement for GM,” GM chief executive Mary Barra said of the deal while discussing the automaker’s Q4 2022 financial results. “Direct sourcing critical EV raw materials and components from suppliers in North America and free-trade-agreement countries helps make our supply chain more secure, helps us manage cell costs, and creates jobs.”
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The $320 million from the first stage of the investment will be held in escrow while awaiting the conclusion of a Record of Decision ruling pending in the U.S. District Court for the mine to go ahead. The second half of the investment will be released when Lithium America’s U.S. business and Argentinian business are separated.
“It’s an exciting milestone, and we couldn’t ask for a better organization than General Motors to become our largest investor,” Lithium Americas president and chief executive Jonathan Evans told CNBC. “GM shares our commitment to meaningfully advancing the energy transition, and I’m confident that together we can make Thacker Pass a major player in a secure, integrated North American supply chain from critical battery materials to EVs.”