Automotive Giant Stellantis Buys Stake in Aussie Miner as Lithium Costs Skyrocket

1 month ago 85

The world’s fifth-largest automaker Stellantis—manufacturer of 14 makes, including Jeep, Maserati, and Chrysler—will go the second-largest shareholder of Australian lithium miner Vulcan Energy Resources.

To substance its ongoing electrical conveyance sales, the carmaker volition wage $76 cardinal (US$52.45 million) to get an 8 percent involvement successful Vulcan.

The determination comes arsenic electrical automakers research ways to unafraid upstream proviso chains amid soaring lithium prices—lithium hydroxide is captious for manufacturing electrical conveyance batteries.

Vulcan has plans to nutrient lithium hydroxide from brine fields successful the Upper Rhine Valley successful Germany utilizing geothermal energy, which it says volition permission a “net-zero c footprint.”

Vulcan and Stellantis past twelvemonth signed a five-year statement for the proviso of a minimum of 81,000 metric tons and a maximum of 99,000 metric tons of lithium hydroxide—this woody volition present beryllium extended until 2036.

Logo of Stellantis The Stellantis motion extracurricular the Chrysler Technology Center successful Auburn Hills, Mich. connected Jan. 19, 2021. (Carlos Osorio/AP Photo)

Francis Wedin, managing manager of Vulcan, said the concern from Stellantis was a “strong statement” by 1 of the world’s largest automakers.

“We are afloat aligned with Stellantis’ decarbonisation and electrification goals, which correspond immoderate of the astir ambitious successful the industry,” helium said successful a connection connected June 24. “It is encouraging to spot a starring automaker investing successful local, decarbonised lithium accumulation for electrical vehicles.”

“Making this highly strategical concern successful a starring lithium institution volition assistance america make a resilient and sustainable worth concatenation for our European electrical conveyance artillery production,” according to Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis. “We proceed our quest of forming beardown relationships with partners who stock our values.”

Stellantis, formed from a 2021 merger betwixt Fiat-Chrysler and PSA Group, develops and sells Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroën, Dodge, DS Automobiles, Fiat, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, Opel, Peugeot, Ram, Vauxhall, Free2move, and Leasys.

Climate Change Policy Drives Up Demand for Lithium

The institution has 1 of the astir important electrification projects of immoderate automaker globally, with plans for 100 percent of its rider car income successful Europe to beryllium electric-powered vehicles by 2030.

The institution is presently the market leader successful debased emissions rider conveyance income successful countries specified arsenic Italy (35.7 percent), France (30.3 percent), Spain (21.8 percent), and Poland (14.9 percent).

As the clime alteration question takes disconnected successful developed countries, request for lithium hydroxide has soared arsenic governments and businesses propulsion for greater electrification of car networks, arsenic good arsenic larger artillery retention to enactment energy grids.

This, successful turn, has driven up the terms of the mineral from $17,000 per metric ton successful 2021 to $78,032 per metric ton successful 2022.

In response, the laminitis of Tesla, Elon Musk, said his institution could adjacent get progressive successful mining and extraction of lithium to thrust down costs.

“Price of lithium has gone to insane levels! Tesla mightiness really person to get into the mining and refining straight astatine scale, unless costs improve,” helium wrote successful a station connected Twitter successful April. “There is nary shortage of the constituent itself, arsenic lithium is astir everyplace connected Earth, but gait of extraction/refinement is slow.”

Price of lithium has gone to insane levels! Tesla mightiness really person to get into the mining & refining straight astatine scale, unless costs improve.

There is nary shortage of the constituent itself, arsenic lithium is astir everyplace connected Earth, but gait of extraction/refinement is slow.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 8, 2022

Daniel Y. Teng

Follow

Daniel Y. Teng is based successful Sydney. He focuses connected nationalist affairs including national politics, COVID-19 response, and Australia-China relations. Got a tip? Contact him astatine [email protected]