Glencore and General Motors enter cobalt supply agreement

Glencore and General Motors Co. have announced a multi-year sourcing agreement in which Glencore will supply GM with cobalt from its Murrin Murrin operation in Australia. Cobalt is an important metal in the production of EV batteries, and the cobalt processed from Australia will be used in GM’s Ultium battery cathodes, which will power electric vehicles such as the Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC HUMMER EV, and Cadillac LYRIQ.

The agreement builds on a commitment both companies share to create strong, sustainable, and resilient supply chains through collective industry and multi-stakeholder platforms. Both Glencore and General Motors are members of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), and Glencore’s Murrin Murrin operation is conformant with the OECD-aligned Responsible Minerals Assurance Process.

“We are delighted to announce this collaboration and support General Motors in delivering its electric vehicle strategy,” said Ash Lazenby, Glencore US Cobalt Marketer and Trader. “Future facing commodities like cobalt play a pivotal role in decarbonising energy consumption and the electric vehicle revolution. 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 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.”

Cobalt is a metal that makes up only 0.001% of the earth’s crust. It is known for its heat-resistant properties and is added to lithium-ion battery cathodes to improve energy density and battery longevity.

By the end of 2025, GM plans to have capacity to build 1 million electric vehicles in North America, and has announced a series of actions to create a new and more secure EV supply chain, including projects targeting key EV materials and components:

  • Cathode Active Material (CAM) with POSCO Chemical. GM and POSCO are building a new facility in Quebec, Canada as part of their joint venture to produce CAM for GM’s Ultium Batteries.
  • Lithium with Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) to secure lithium produced by the first stage of its Hell’s Kitchen Project in California.
  • Rare earth materials with GE, to develop a rare earth value chain.
  • Alloy flakes with MP Materials, who will establish the first North American processing site for alloy flakes. The company will then expand into magnet manufacturing around 2025 at its new production facility in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • Permanent magnets with VAC, the largest producer of permanent magnets in the Western Hemisphere with nearly 100 years of experience. VAC will establish a North American footprint to support GM’s magnet requirements starting in 2024, including locally sourced raw materials and finished magnet production.

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