General Motors said on Tuesday that together with Lithium Americas Corp. will invest to develop the Thacker Pass mine in Nevada, the largest known lithium resource in the United States and the third largest in the world.
GM will make a $650 million equity investment in Lithium Americas, which GM CEO Mary Barra told Wall Street investors is “the largest investment by an automaker making battery raw materials.”
Barra said if the Thacker Pass mine comes online in the second half of 2026, it could support annual production of up to 1 million electric vehicles and create 1,000 jobs in construction and 500 in operations. GM will have exclusive access to the lithium once the investment process is complete.
“It’s a landmark investment and certainly won’t be the last,” announces GM, Barra said.
GM has made constant efforts to secure the materials needed to manufacture batteries for its electric vehicles. For example, last fall it made a strategic investment in Australia’s Queensland Pacific Metals to secure supplies of nickel and cobalt, both of which are critical to making batteries.
Earlier last year, GM announced it had entered into three supplier agreements to secure access to lithium, nickel, cobalt and cathode active material (CAM) used in EV batteries. In December 2021, GM announced a joint venture deal with POSCO Chemical, which supplies CAM. In March 2022, GM announced that a new joint venture would build a factory in Quebec.
Thacker Pass lithium carbonate is used in GM’s Ultium battery cells. Lithium is a key material in lithium-ion batteries. It can withstand repeated charging and discharging, which enables fast charging.
“Our future production will increasingly draw from domestic resources such as the Nevada site we are developing with Lithium Americas,” Barra said in a statement. “Sourcing critical EV raw materials and components directly from suppliers in North America and Free Trade Agreement countries helps make our supply chain safer, helps us control cell costs and creates jobs.”
GM has announced four U.S. battery cell plants, including Ultium Cells’ joint venture plant with LG Energy Solution in northeast Ohio, which is in production. Another Ultium Cells facility being built in Tennessee will come online this year and a facility under construction in Lansing will open next year. GM says it will build a fourth plant for Ultium Cells but has to find a new partner because it couldn’t agree on a site with LG Energy.
When asked about plans for a fourth battery cell plant, GM CFO Paul Jacobson told the media Tuesday that GM is measuring how it can increase capacity at the three battery cell plants it has launched, and: “We’re going to be well over four have plants as we progress through this journey, but this is an orderly approach at this point.”
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Contact Jamie L. LaReau at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @jlareauan. Read more about General Motors and sign up for our auto newsletter. become a subscriber.