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GM Signs Multi-Year Deal for Cobalt from Glencore
GM and Glencore sign deal for several years of cobalt supply, which is used in the production of Ultium batteries.The cobalt for EV batteries will be mined from the Murrin Murrin site in Western Australia.GM is among several automakers moving to secure long-term supplies for battery materials, as EV makers scramble for raw materials instead of relying entirely on suppliers.General Motors revealed this week it has reached a multi-year deal with mining giant Glencore that will supply the automaker with cobalt from Australia. Crucial to the production of EV batteries, the cobalt will be mined at Glencore’s Murrin Murrin site in the northeastern part of the Goldfields region in Western Australia, and used in battery cathodes of GM’s Ultium lineup, which includes the Cadillac Lyriq, GMC Hummer EV, and the upcoming Chevrolet Silverado EV. The multi-year sourcing agreement is the latest in a string of long-term deals between automakers and mining companies for raw materials, including lithium, that are key to uninterrupted battery production, even as automakers race to develop solid-state batteries that do not rely on the same mix of metals as current lithium-ion compositions. “GM and our suppliers are building an EV ecosystem that is focused on sourcing critical raw materials in a secure sustainable manner,” said Jeff Morrison, GM vice president, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain. “Importantly, given the critical role of EVs in reducing the carbon footprint of the transportation sector, this agreement is aligned with our approach to responsible sourcing and supply-chain management.” Glencore and GM are both members of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), with the Murrin Murrin site conforming with the OECD-aligned Responsible Minerals Assurance Process, which sets out due diligence guidance for sourcing minerals from high-risk areas.The two companies have not disclosed the terms of the agreement, including the annual volume of cobalt the Murrin Murrin site will provide. But given the expected sharp increase in production of Ultium-platform vehicles, with the Cadillac Lyriq launching now, the agreement is expected to be long term. “Future-facing commodities like cobalt play a pivotal role in decarbonizing energy consumption and the electric-vehicle revolution,” said Ash Lazenby, Glencore U.S. Cobalt marketer and trader. “Glencore is already a leading producer, recycler, and supplier of these commodities, which underpin our own ambition of achieving net zero total emissions by 2050.” GM’s agreement with Glencore comes just a few months after the automaker reached a deal with POSCO Chemical to open a new plant for processing Cathode Active Material (CAM), also intended for Ultium battery cells. The POSCO site in Canada, slated to launch in 2024, will supply GM facilities in Lordstown, Ohio, and in Spring Hill, Tennessee.
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