Argentina and United States

Livent to supply Argentine lithium for General Motors EVs from 2025

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, July 26, 2022
Livent to supply Argentine lithium for General Motors EVs from 2025

Philadelphia-based chemicals company Livent will supply US carmaker General Motors with battery-grade lithium hydroxide from its brine-based operations in Argentina, over a six-year period beginning in 2025, the two US firms stated in a joint release.

"Lithium hydroxide is crucial to GM's plans to make higher performance, higher mileage EVs. The lithium hydroxide from Livent will be used in GM's Ultium battery cathodes," the companies stated.

Livent has been extracting lithium from the Salar Hombre Muerto at its Fénix plant in Catamarca province, at around 4,000 masl in the Andes mountains of northwestern Argentina, for some 20 years. 

The company's current lithium carbonate production capacity from Hombre Muerto is 20,000t/y with an additional 9,000t/y of lithium chloride. It uses the lithium carbonate as feedstock for its downstream lithium hydroxide production. 

Livent also has a US$450mn first expansion project underway that is intended to add 20,000t/y of lithium carbonate production capacity at Hombre Muerto by 4Q23. 

it has outlined a second expansion stage that is estimated to require an investment of US$500mn-700mn to add 30,000t/y more output by the end of 2025, as well as a third expansion, which is still being assessed, which would raise production by another 30,000t/y to a total 100,000t/y by 2028-9. 

The lithium from Livent will feed GM's plans to produce 1mn electric vehicles (EV) in North America by the end of 2025. 

In 1Q22, global sales of new EVs (including fully electric and plug-in hybrids) doubled to 6.6mn in 2021, according to the latest edition of the International Energy Agency's (IEA) annual Global Electric Vehicle Outlook. Despite supply chain problems, sales have continued rising in 2022, with 2mn EVs sold worldwide in 1Q22, up three quarters year-on-year. 

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