General Motors is investing $650 million in Lithium Americas to help develop the Thacker Pass lithium mine in Nevada.
As automakers transition to electric vehicles, the lithium needed for battery production is quickly becoming one of the most important elements to the automotive supply chain. GM wants to ensure it has access to all the supplies it will need and is willing to invest in Lithium Americas to make that happen.
“GM has secured all the battery material we need to build more than 1 million EVs annually in North America in 2025 and our future production will increasingly draw from domestic resources like the site in Nevada we’re developing with Lithium Americas,” said GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra. “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.”
“The agreement with GM is a major milestone in moving Thacker Pass toward production, while setting a foundation for the separation of our U.S. and Argentine businesses,” said Lithium Americas President and CEO Jonathan Evans. “This relationship underscores our commitment to develop a sustainable domestic lithium supply chain for electric vehicles. We are pleased to have GM as our largest investor, and we look forward to working together to accelerate the energy transition while spurring job creation and economic growth in America.”
GM has imposed certain conditions to its investment, however, including court approval for the mining operation to move forward, as well as a reorganization of Lithium Americas.
GM’s investment will be split between two tranches. The funds for the first tranche will be held in escrow until certain conditions are met, including the outcome of the Record of Decision ruling currently pending in U.S. District Court. If those conditions are met, the funds will be released and GM will become a shareholder in Lithium Americas. The escrow release is expected to occur no later than the end of 2023. The second tranche investment is expected to be made into Lithium Americas’ U.S.-focused lithium business following the separation of its U.S. and Argentina businesses and is contingent on similar conditions, including Lithium Americas securing sufficient capital to fund the development expenditures to support Thacker Pass.
GM’s investment will likely be followed by similar measures from other automakers as demand for lithium continues to skyrocket.