Glencore and General Motors have announced a multi-year sourcing agreement in which Glencore will supply GM with cobalt from its Murrin Murrin operation in Australia. 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.
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.
Murrin Murrin is a remote, fully integrated nickel and cobalt producer located in the north-eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia (in the photo). The company uses conventional open pit mining methods to extract the nickel and cobalt ore, before processing and refining the laterite ore at its hydrometallurgical facility.
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 Chemical 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, which 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.