US carmaker General Motors (GM) announced that it is set to take on a bigger chunk of the lithium mining industry through a substantial investment in startup lithium tech firm EnergyX. The company made the announcement last April.
A private corporation, EnergyX is just one of several firms currently developing direct lithium extraction (DLE) technologies.
In GM’s case, EnergyX DLEs would help produce lithium for its Ultium battery packs, extracting the metal from several types of brine that most mining firms have passed over in favor of more conventional methods like open-pit mining and evaporation. Indeed, a GM spokesperson remarked that DLE could be the most efficient way by which to extract lithium from brine.
Part of the GM investment involves collaboration between the company’s scientific team and EnergyX experts in order to commercialize the latter’s proprietary DLE.
Both parties hope that they will succeed where the likes of Rio Tinto and Lilac Solutions, a firm backed by German automaker BMW, have previously failed.
What GM’s Involvement Means for EnergyX
For EnergyX founder and CEO Teague Egan, GM’s involvement is certainly a shot in the arm for his company as it stands to change the trajectory of its evolution.
At present, EnergyX is building five demonstration facilities which will be located domestically in Arkansas, California, and Nevada, and overseas in Argentina and Chile.
Those thinking of eventually working with the company need to bring brine from their respective properties in order to try out EnergyX’s DLE prior to signing any agreements for development.
What Came Before
Prior to investing in the EnergyX initiative, GM agreed to pay $60 million to Lithium Americas Corporation back in January, essentially becoming its largest shareholder. Lithium Americas is the company responsible for the development of the Thacker Pass clay lithium extraction initiative in Nevada.
Back in 2021, GM also invested in another DLE developer, Controlled Thermal Resources Ltd, which is working on a geothermal brine initiative in California.