DETROIT — General Motors is making what it says is the largest-ever investment by an automaker in battery raw materials production as it prepares to further ramp up electric vehicle production in the coming years.
GM said Tuesday that it will take a $650 million (all figures in USD) equity position in Lithium Americas Corp. and work with the company to jointly develop Nevada's Thacker Pass lithium mine. Lithium Americas said GM will become its largest shareholder, with a nearly 10 percent stake.
Lithium Americas said the mine can produce enough lithium for as many as 1 million EVs annually. GM plans to use lithium carbonate from the Nevada project in its Ultium battery cells.
"It's a landmark transaction, and it certainly won't be the last major supply chain announcement for GM," GM CEO Mary Barra told analysts on the automaker's fourth-quarter earnings call. "We continue to pursue strategic supply agreements and partnerships to further secure our long-term needs and drive investment in the United States and across North America."
GM says it has signed supply agreements to secure all of the raw battery materials needed to build 1 million EVs in North America by 2025 and now is working on supply agreements for 2026 and beyond. Production at the Thacker Pass mine is expected to begin in the second half of 2026, the companies said. GM said it has a binding deal providing exclusive access to the first phase of production and an agreement giving it the right of first offer on the second phase.
GM's investment will be made in two parts, with the first held in escrow until specific conditions are met, which is anticipated to happen by the end of this year, the companies said. The remainder will follow after Lithium Americas splits its U.S. operations from those in Argentina.
"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 CEO Jonathan Evans said in a statement. "This relationship underscores our commitment to develop a sustainable domestic lithium supply chain for electric vehicles. We are pleased to have GM as our largest investor, and we look forward to working together to accelerate the energy transition while spurring job creation and economic growth in America."