Stellantis Materials Deal Shows Growth In Minerals From Friendly Countries

One of the biggest things people panned about the most recent iteration of US electric vehicle subsidies was that it wouldn’t subsidize dependence on China for battery minerals.

Some argued that requiring battery materials to come from friendly countries (or, to be more accurate, not come from “foreign entities of concern”) would lead to slower EV adoption, or more sales of PHEVs. For a big battery needed for battery-electric cars, the criteria would be tough to fulfill, but not too difficult for a tiny battery that is incorporated into a plugin hybrid. They may install a little $1,000 or $2,000 battery in a car and receive a substantial $7,500 discount by giving participants who want to subsidize their gasoline and diesel vehicles a simple way to do so.

Others pointed out that the future of the EV depends on supplies that don’t generate geopolitical risks. There is no debating that China’s expansive hold on several vital minerals needed for batteries pose as an economic challenge to the halted growth of not only the electric vehicle market, but also global economical security. For example, we are all too familiar with what occurs when the oil market becomes disrupted; oil being a resource pumped and refined in various countries. However, a Chinese 100% control on battery-grade synthetic graphite, 73% control of cobalt, 68% control of nickel and 59% control over lithium presents an entirely larger problem.

That’s why news of a deal Stellantis recently struck is so important. Stellantis and GME Resources Limited have announced their agreement to sell quantities of battery grade nickel and cobalt sulphate products from the NiWest Nickel-Cobalt Project in Western Australia, through a binding Memorandum of Understanding. Americans might not agree with everything Australians do, but we know they aren’t going to hold battery supplies hostage to extract concessions out of other free countries.

The NiWest project is a nickel-cobalt development enterprise that will produce close to 90,000 tpa (tons per annum) of battery grade nickel and cobalt sulphate for the burgeoning electric vehicle market. So far, more than AU$30 million has been invested into drilling, metallurgical test work, and development studies. A proposed location of the processing facility for NiWest is within approximately 30 kilometers of Glencore-owned Murrin Murrin operation, currently the largest nickel-cobalt operation in Australia.

“Every day, Stellantis is working to provide our customers clean, safe affordable, cutting-edge freedom of mobility,” said Maxime Picat, Stellantis Chief Purchasing and Supply Chain Officer. “Securing the raw material sources and battery supply will strengthen Stellantis’ value chain for electric vehicle battery production and equally important, help the Company achieve its aggressive decarbonization target.”

Stellantis has announced that it plans to achieve 100% sales of passenger battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) in Europe and 50% sales of BEVs for passenger cars and light-duty trucks in the United States by 2030. The company also plans to become carbon net zero by 2038, with a 50% reduction by 2030. They call this their Dare Forward 2030 plan.

“Stellantis is a partner of the highest caliber and GME is delighted to have signed this MOU in what we hope is the first step in a long-term partnership,” said GME Managing Director, Paul Kopejtka. “We’re very pleased with how our discussions have progressed and we now look forward to progressing more detailed negotiations in parallel with the start of the Definitive Feasibility Study for the NiWest Nickel-Cobalt Project. A Definitive Agreement with Stellantis would be a critical step in being able to progress the NiWest Project through to commercial operations.”

This isn’t the only friendly suppliers they’ve struck deals with. Stellantis also obtained a significant supply of low-carbon lithium hydroxide from Vulcan Energy and Controlled Thermal Resources in Europe and North America, respectively, earlier this year. So, it’s clear that getting materials that qualify for tax credits by coming from better suppliers is important to Stellantis.

Featured image provided by Stellantis.


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