Ford has signed a non-binding off-take agreement with lithium producer Lake Resources. The agreement provides for the delivery of about 25,000 tons of lithium per year from the Kachi project in Argentina.
However, it is not clear from Lake Resources’ announcement when a supply to Ford from the Kachi mine could start or the financial scope of a potential binding supply agreement. For Lake Resources, this is the second letter of intent on the Kachi project; China’s Hanwa Group also wants to purchase lithium carbonate from Lake Resources.
The reluctance with concrete data and binding contracts has a simple reason: The mine in the Andes in the very west of Argentina is not yet in operation. It is supposed to be a brine mining operation that extracts potassium and lithium carbonate. After the extraction of the materials, the water is to be returned to the brine basin, which is 400 to 800 meters deep.
The portal Mining Data Online lists the project 22 kilometres west of El Peñon still in the “pre-feasibility” stage. A feasibility study is quoted, according to which Lake has increased the possible production volume from 25,000 to 50,000 tons of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE). However, Lake still gives 25,500 tons of LCE as planned production on its own homepage. The new resource estimate is based on drill results. So Ford would take off about half of the year’s output.
“As we’ve shared, Ford is sourcing deeper into the battery supply chain,” said Lisa Drake, Ford’s vice president for EV Industrialization. “This is one of several agreements we’re exploring to help us secure raw materials to support our aggressive EV acceleration,” she added.
“Both Lake and Ford see this as an opportunity for a potential long-term agreement with the ability to scale up environmentally responsible production and participate in Lake’s other projects to ensure high-quality lithium products are available to Ford,” said Lake’s Managing Director Steve Promnitz. “This MoU with Ford supports Lake’s strategy to be a key independent supplier into global lithium supply chains and ensure the security of supply to customers.”
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