General Motors announced a $650 million investment Tuesday in domestic lithium production. Photo by General Motors/UPI
Jan. 31 (UPI) -- General Motors announced Tuesday it will make a $650 million equity investment into Lithium Americas to develop the Thacker Pass mine in Nevada to produce material needed for its electric vehicles.
GM is touting the news as the largest-ever investment by a carmaker to produce domestic lithium to make EV batteries. Lithium Americas, which is based in Vancouver, Canada, said it believes there is enough lithium in the mine to produce batteries for 1 million EVs annually.
As the market for electric cars grows, so have supply chain worries for lithium, the critical raw material needed for the batteries. According to Mining.com, Australia, Chile and China are the leading countries in producing lithium.
"GM has secured all the battery material we need to build more than 1 million EVs annually in North America in 2025 and our future production will increasingly draw from domestic resources like the site in Nevada we're developing with Lithium Americas," GM Chairwoman and CEO Mary Barra said in a statement.
"Direct sourcing critical EV raw materials and components from suppliers in North America and free-trade-agreement countries help make our supply chain more secure, helps us manage cell costs, and creates jobs."
The Thacker Pass mine received a Record of Decision in January 2021 from the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management, according to Lithium Americas. Construction is expected to start (BLM) and has all permits required to commence construction. Construction is expected to commence in 2023.
Thacker Pass is located about 60 miles northwest of Winnemucca, in Humboldt County in northern Nevada in an area that has the potential to expand.
"The agreement with GM is a major milestone in moving Thacker Pass toward production while setting a foundation for the separation of our U.S. and Argentine businesses," Lithium Americas President and CEO Jonathan Evans said in a statement.
"This relationship underscores our commitment to developing a sustainable domestic lithium supply chain for electric vehicles."