Given the mad rush to meet the carbon-zero goals of nations across the globe, it’s not surprising that automotive manufacturers are pushing hard to introduce their respective lines of electric vehicles (EVs) into the global market.
However, the current scarcity of lithium – the most crucial element for the production of EV batteries – is pushing these companies further: right into actually mining for the mineral through their own facilities.
Where the Market Currently Stands
In all honesty, there isn’t enough processed lithium available to ensure that all EV manufacturers and traditional carmakers shifting to the EV format have a viable supply. This is especially true now that the demand for EVs has hit an all time high.
As a result, individual automakers have been snapping up smaller, more bespoke, lithium mining firms, as well as those that mine other essential minerals like cobalt and nickel.
However, this poses a danger in itself: it puts these companies at the risk of dealing with unscrupulous firms, working in areas which are either politically unstable or whose environmental policies seem to change at the drop of a hat, as well as the possibility that the lithium drawn from such mines could be of such poor quality as to be virtually useless.
Who’s Working with Whom?
Despite all these risks, major players in the automotive sector have inked agreements with some of the key players in the lithium mining industry.
Ford Motor, for example, has a standing agreement to buy lithium from Chile’s Sociedad Química y Minera (SQM,) as well as North Carolina firm Albemarle, and Canada’s Nemaska Lithium.
Its rival General Motors, on the other hand, chose to invest in the Canadian firm Lithium Americas in January, specifically for the development of the mines at Nevada’s controversial Thacker Pass.