GM to help Lithium Americas develop Nevada’s Thacker Pass mine
General Motors Co on Tuesday said it will invest $650 million in Lithium Americas Corp to help develop Nevada’s Thacker Pass lithium mining project, which holds enough of the battery metal to build 1 million electric vehicles annually.
The deal is the latest by an automaker to lock up supply of the key metal amid the rush to go electric and gives Lithium Americas a key partner to develop North America’s largest lithium mine, which has faced pushback from environmentalists and Native American groups.
GM would become the largest shareholder in Lithium Americas and has agreed to buy all of the mine’s lithium when it comes online in 2026 – roughly 40,000 tonnes per year.
Lithium carbonate from Thacker Pass will be used in GM’s proprietary Ultium battery cell.
Shares of Lithium Americas rose more than 10% to $24.25 in morning trading.
Under the agreement, GM will make an equity investment of $650 million in Lithium Americas in two equal parts, with the first tranche coming only if Lithium Americas prevails in an ongoing court case. A U.S. judge earlier this month said she would rule “in the next couple of months” in the case, which centers on whether former U.S. President Donald Trump erred in 2021 when he approved the mine just before leaving office.
The second tranche of funding would come after Lithium Americas completes its long-planned split, which will separate its North American and South American operations.
Production at Thacker Pass is expected to create 1,000 construction jobs and 500 full-time jobs. Global demand for lithium, which is a key material in lithium-ion batteries, is likely to hit 3.7 million tonnes by 2030. (Reporting by Ernest Scheyder in Houston and Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Mark Porter)
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