The slump in lithium prices and the oversupply of the material in the global marketplace have done little to deter electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers from venturing into supply agreements with some of the world’s leading lithium mining and processing firms.
Such is the case of Chinese EV company BYD which recently discussed a potential supply agreement with the Canadian mining firm Sigma Lithium which has extensive lithium holdings in Brazil’s Grota do Cirilo region.
According to Alexandre Baldy, chairman of BYD’s Brazil operations, representatives from the EV producer’s headquarters met with Sigma Lithium CEO Ana Cabral Gardner last month in Sao Paolo. However, details regarding the discussions remain bound under a non-disclosure agreement signed by both parties.
What is known, however, is that the companies involved may be looking at a deal worth $2.9 billion. At the same time, Sigma Lithium is currently going over similar proposals submitted by German automotive giant Volkswagen, as well as Chinese battery maker CATL.
Earlier this month, Sigma officials announced that it has taken the first steps towards listing its Brazilian office on the tech-centric Nasdaq, as well as on the Singapore Stock Exchange. BYD, on the other hand, is slated to invest up to $600 million in another industrial facility, this time in Brazil’s northeast. Operations at the said facility are expected to begin in the middle of this year.
A Tumultuous Time
As of press time, Sigma shareholders are in the process of concluding the sale of the firm. Since July 2023, Sigma executives have been working with Bank of America to seek potential buyers for its assets.
Elon Musk-led EV maker Tesla is said to be among those who have approached the company with a viable bid.
While the hard-rock lithium facility at Grota do Cirilo began early last year, any success worth reporting was dampened by news of an acrimonious separation between CEO Cabral-Gardner and her ex-husband, former Sigma chief executive Calvin Gardner who allegedly stole several confidential corporate files.