Automotive giant General Motors (GM) has signed a landmark deal with an Australian critical minerals company.
The agreement will secure the future production and supply of critical minerals for batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs).
The deal is critical to secure “all battery raw material to support GM’s goal of 1 million units of EV capacity in North America by the end of 2025,” said GM in an October 11 statement.
“This new collaboration builds on those commitments as we look to secure supply through the end of the decade, while also helping continue to expand the EV market,” said Jeff Morrison, GM vice president of Global Purchasing and Supply Chain.
It is conditional on the commitment of $69 million, which will grant GM the right to purchase uncommitted nickel and cobalt sulfate produced by Queensland Pacific Metals (QPM) over 15 years from its proposed Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub in Northern Australia.
According to GM, the nickel and cobalt will help power a broad portfolio of trucks, SUVs, vans, and luxury vehicles from the car manufacturer, including the Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC Hummer EV Pickup and SUV, Cadillac Lyriq, Chevrolet Blazer EV, and Chevrolet Equinox EV.
“The collaboration with Queensland Pacific Metals will provide GM with a secure, cost-competitive, and long-term supply of nickel and cobalt from a free-trade agreement partner to help support our fast-growing EV production needs,” said Morrison.
Morrison said that the agreement demonstrates GM’s “commitment to building strong supplier relationships and is aligned with our approach to responsible sourcing and supply chain management.”
QPM has obtained the right to use a process that recycles chemicals used in the extraction process, providing a more environmentally-conscious method for extracting nickel, cobalt, and other precious metals, according to the GM statement.
It also generates less waste than traditional extraction processes.
The Australian government will also support the deal, with QPM receiving a non-binding letter of support from Export Finance Australia for up to $154 million in debt funding for the project.
The deal has been welcomed by Australian Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell and Minister For Resources Madeline King.
Farrell said in a press release on Oct. 13 that the agreement was another example of Australia developing mutually-beneficial critical minerals partnerships with major trading partners.
“Australian and U.S. businesses understand the need to ensure reliable supply chains as the world transitions to net-zero emissions,” he said.
“We are very supportive of commercial efforts to attract international capital and offtake contracts to develop Australia’s critical minerals sector and value-added capacity.”
Critical minerals are essential inputs for many so-called renewable technology products, including those being backed by governments like Australia and the United States as they drive their countries’ economies to adopt carbon-neutrality targets.
Australian Resource Minister King said that the agreement was an example of Australia using its innovation, technological know-how, and resource expertise to become a global renewable energy superpower.
“There are huge opportunities for job creation and economic growth in Australia’s growing critical minerals capability,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Director of Climate Energy Finance (CEF) Tim Buckley previously told The Epoch Times in April that he believes Australia has the potential to become a world leader in the “green” revolution.
He believes that given Australia’s resource wealth in lithium, rare earths, copper, cobalt, nickel, wind, solar, and hydro, the country has everything needed to benefit from the U.N.-led push for decarbonization, which Buckley says will see massive investment, employment, and export opportunities in new industries.