General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and Lithium Americas Corp. (TSX: LAC and NYSE: LAC) today announced that they will jointly invest in the development of the Thacker Pass mine Nevadathe largest known source of lithium in The United States and the third largest in the world.
Under the terms of the agreement, GM will a $650 million Equity investment in Lithium Americas, marking the largest-ever investment by an automaker to produce battery raw materials. Lithium Americas estimates that the lithium extracted and processed from the project can support the production of up to 1 million electric vehicles per year.
Thacker Pass lithium carbonate is used in GM’s proprietary Ultium battery cells. A key material in lithium-ion batteries, lithium withstands repeated charging and discharging (including rapid charging), delivers higher energy density, and offers more usable capacity than other battery types.
GM will launch a broad portfolio of Ultium platform trucks, SUVs, luxury vehicles and light commercial vehicles including the GMC HUMMER EV pickup and SUV, GMC Sierra EV, Cadillac LYRIQ, Cadillac CELESTIQ, Chevrolet Silverado EV, Chevrolet Blazer EV, Chevrolet Equinox EV, BrightDrop Zevo 400 and BrightDrop Zevo 600.
“GM has secured all of the battery material we need to build more than 1 million electric vehicles annually North America in 2025 and our future production will increasingly draw from domestic resources such as the location in Nevada we are developing with Lithium Americas,” said GM’s chairman and CEO Maria Barra. “Direct sourcing of critical EV raw materials and components from suppliers in North America and Free Trade Agreements help make our supply chain safer, control cell costs and create jobs.”
“The agreement with GM is an important milestone in moving Thacker Pass toward production while providing a basis for the separation of our U.S. and Argentina businesses,” said Lithium Americas President and CEO Jonathan Evans. “This relationship underscores our commitment to developing a sustainable domestic lithium supply chain for electric vehicles. We are excited to have GM as our largest investor and look forward to working together to accelerate the energy transition while boosting job creation and economic growth in America.”
GM’s investment will be divided into two tranches. Funds for the first tranche will be held in escrow pending the satisfaction of certain conditions, including the outcome of the Record of Decision judgment currently pending in the US District Court. If these conditions are met, the funds will be released and GM will become a shareholder in Lithium Americas. The fiduciary release is expected to take place by the end of 2023 at the latest. The second tranche investment is expected to be made in the US-focused lithium business of Lithium Americas following the demerger of the US and US lithium businesses Argentina Company and is dependent on similar terms, including Lithium Americas raising sufficient capital to fund development costs in support of Thacker Pass.
Production at Thacker Pass is expected to begin in the second half of 2026. In conjunction with the completion of the first tranche of the investment, a binding supply agreement will grant GM exclusive access to Phase 1 production and the right to an initial bid for Phase 2 production. Lithium Americas expects Thacker Pass to create 1,000 jobs in construction and 500 in operations.
GM has announced four US cell plants with an annual capacity of 160 gigawatt hours, including the Ultium Cells joint venture plant with LG Energy Solution in Were, Ohiowhich is in production and other JV locations in Spring Hill, Tennessee and Lansing, Michigan which are scheduled to open in 2023 and 2024 respectively. Ultium Cells’ first three plants are expected to create 6,000 jobs in construction and 5,000 in operations.
GM is currently building two electric vehicles Michigan plants, a Tennessee plant and one ontario Plant and its suppliers invest to create a robust North America-focused supply chain for EV raw materials, processed material and components, with major projects underway California, Texas, Ohio and Quebec.
Lithium America (TSX: LAC and NYSE: LAC) is focused on advancing lithium projects in Argentina and The United States to production. In Argentina, Caucharí-Olaroz nears first production and Pastos Grandes represents regional growth. In The United StatesThacker Pass has received its decision log and is making progress toward construction.