GM to Take Unprecedented Steps to Secure Battery Metal Supply

General Motors signals it will take all the necessary steps to secure the supply of battery metals, including going all the way down to upstream mining, in order to become a major player in electric vehicles (EVs). Automakers and battery manufacturers have been racing to secure raw materials needed to produce EVs.

“We absolutely are convinced we need to have control of our own destiny when it comes to EV critical minerals,” GM’s director of electric vehicle critical materials Skilton said.

“At times we have engaged, for example, with the steel industry, with steel mills in our history, but to go all the way down to mine sites is new and unique for us at this stage.”

Competition for raw materials needed for the energy transition, such as copper, lithium and cobalt, has become intense as supplies have fallen short of demand. It forces both automotive companies and battery manufacturers to go down the supply chain to buy battery metals directly from mines, a move that has been traditionally avoided by manufacturers.

The auto industry traditionally left raw material supplies to processors and equipment manufacturers.

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Trade, Battery Materials to be the Focal Point of U.S.-Africa Summit

U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which provides incentives for automakers that source battery materials from free trade partners, has prompted mining companies and governments in Africa to look for closer trade ties with Washington. The $430 billion IRA was criticized by South Korea and the European Union, who say it could hurt their automotive industries. The law could also affect battery metal producing African nations, as Morocco is the only African free trade partner of the United States. The continent is a key copper producer and the Democratic Republic of Congo dominates the world’s cobalt production.  

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