GM signs nickel supply agreement with Vale

GM signs nickel supply agreement with Vale

GM will source 25,000tpy of battery-grade nickel sulphate from Vale Canada starting in H2 2026.

Blue View

GM’s agreement with Vale supports EV eligibility for consumer incentives under the new clean energy tax credits introduced in the Inflation Reduction Act. The nickel sulphate material will be sourced from Vale’s upcoming plant in Bécancour, Canada, and used in cathodes for GM’s Ultium batteries, produced jointly with LG Energy Solution. GM did not suggest where the nickel sulphate will be processed into cathode active material (CAM) although a likely option is the CAM plant in Quebec that GM is developing with Posco. Construction of that plant is underway and set to be completed in H2 2024.  

GM also signed a binding off-take agreement for CAM with Posco earlier this year. The agreement, which runs from 2023 to 2025, sees Posco supply CAM from its plant in Gwangyang, South Korea, for use in Ultium Cells.  The GM-LG Energy Solutions joint venture will use the CAM from Posco at its cell plants in  Ohio, Tennessee, and Michigan.  

GM has been busy signing agreements to secure battery materials in 2022, as it looks to develop capacity for 1M EVs annually in North America by the end of 2025.  In April, it announced deals with Livent for battery-grade lithium hydroxide, LG Chem for 968kt of cathode material, and Glencore for cobalt from Murrin Murrin.  And earlier this month, the automaker made a strategic investment in Queensland Pacific Metals of Australia, a potential producer of cobalt and nickel.  

As well as announcing the Vale nickel deal, GM's Head of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain announced that the company expects to cut the cost of Ultium battery cells to less than US$70/kWh by the late 2020s. He noted that GM is exploring the use of LFP cells to reduce costs.  It was also mentioned that they were exploring using lithium metal and pure silicon for anodes instead of graphite to increase energy storage capacity and the use of solid electrolytes.

  • 21 Nov 2022
  • Canada
  • USA
  • Vale
  • Nickel
  • Automotive
  • Batteries

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