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By Shane Lasley
Metal Tech News 

GM secures future EV battery metals

Investing in future Australian supplier of nickel and cobalt Metal Tech News – October 12, 2022


Last updated 10/18/2022 at 2:24pm

A blue Chevrolet Silverado EV being plugged into a home charger.

General Motors

To secure future supplies of the nickel and cobalt needed for the Ultium batteries going into Chevrolet Silverado pickups and other EVs, General Motor's has made a strategic investment in Australia-based Queensland Pacific Metals.

In another example of global automakers heading to the very front end of global supply chains to source the materials they need to transition to electric mobility, General Motors is making up to a US$69 million strategic investment into Queensland Pacific Metals, an Australian company that is developing a refinery that will produce the nickel and cobalt needed for EV batteries.

"The collaboration with Queensland Pacific Metals will provide GM with a secure, cost-competitive and long-term supply of nickel and cobalt from a free-trade agreement partner to help support our fast-growing EV production needs," said Jeff Morrison, vice president of global purchasing and supply chain at GM. "Importantly, the agreement demonstrates our commitment to building strong supplier relationships and is aligned with our approach to responsible sourcing and supply chain management."

This future supply of nickel and cobalt that will go into GM Ultium batteries powering an expanding line of Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC EVs, will come from Queensland Pacific's proposed Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (TECH) project in Northern Australia.

Located about 25 miles south of the port town of Townsville, TECH will upgrade high-grade nickel laterite ore imported from New Caledonia into battery-grade nickel and cobalt sulfates, along with high-purity alumina and hematite.

According to Queensland Pacific, the patented refining and recycling process to be implemented at TECH provides a sustainable means of extracting the nickel, cobalt, and other metals that is carbon negative, and requires no tailings facility to store waste.

Strategic TECH investment

To secure future supplies of some of the sustainable nickel and cobalt produced at TECH, GM is making an initial US$25 million investment that includes the acquisition of 174.6 million Queensland Pacific shares at AU18 cents each. The American automaker has committed an additional US$44 million to support future Queensland Pacific fund raisings.

"GM's strategic direction, company values and focus on sustainability in its pursuit of making electric vehicles for all is a perfect fit for Queensland Pacific Metals and our TECH Project," said Queensland Pacific Metals CEO Stephen Grocott. "GM's investment in our company and the associated offtake brings us one step closer towards construction of the TECH Project where we will one day aim to deliver the world's cleanest produced nickel and cobalt."

The TECH Project, which is slated to begin construction in 2023, is expected to help fill GM's growing EV battery metal needs starting in the latter half of this decade.

"GM already has binding agreements securing all battery raw material supporting our goal of 1 million units of annual capacity in North America by the end of 2025," said Morrison. "This new collaboration builds on those commitments as we look to secure supply through the end of the decade, while also helping continue to expand the EV market."

GM's deal to secure future supplies of nickel and cobalt from Queensland Pacific comes just two days after Stellantis entered into a preliminary agreement to buy battery-grade nickel and cobalt from a future mine being developed in Australia by GME Resources Ltd.

Further details on Stellantis' deal to source battery metals from GME Resources can be read at Stellantis secures future nickel, cobalt published by Metal Tech News on October 10, 2022.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News

With more than 15 years of covering mining, Shane is renowned for his insights and and in-depth analysis of mining, mineral exploration and technology metals.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 907-726-1095


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