GM orders manganese from Element 25

General Motors has signed a contract with Australian mineral exploration company Element 25 to supply manganese sulphate for EV batteries. In addition, the carmaker is giving Element 25 a loan to build a US factory.

The contract foresees up to 32,500 tonnes per year starting in 2025. GM will process the material at its battery plants in North America. According to the Element 25 announcement, GM should be able to produce batteries for more than one million EVs per year from the supplied manganese sulphate.

Beyond just supplying materials, GM is providing a loan of $85 million (€78 million) to Element 25 (manganese is the 25th element on the periodic table) to help build a new plant in the US state of Louisiana. According to the latter, it will be the first plant of its kind in the USA. Element 25 wants to refine manganese concentrate from its mines in Western Australia into battery-grade materials there. The material mined there meets US requirements since Australia has a free trade agreement with the USA.

Element 25 says it will invest $290 million ( €266 million) in the plant. The GM loan will therefore cover about three-tenths of this sum. Construction is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2023, with commissioning in 2025. When fully operational, 200 people are to be employed there.

“E25 aims to be a leading source of high quality, vertically integrated, traceable and ESG-compliant battery material to the global electric vehicle industry and GM’s support does more than accelerate our strategy for HPMSM production in the United States,” says Element 25 Managing Director Justin Brown. “Together, we are creating a resilient and sustainable North American supply chain that will help introduce millions of customers to the performance and environmental benefits of EVs.”

“GM is scaling EV production in North America well past 1 million units annually and our direct investments in battery raw materials, processing and components for EVs are providing certainty of supply, favourable commercial terms and thousands of new jobs, especially in the US, Canada and with free trade agreement countries such as Australia,” says GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, Doug Parks. “The facility E25 will build in Louisiana is significant because it’s expected to be the first plant in the United States to produce battery-grade manganese sulfate, a key component of cathode active material which helps improve EV battery cell cost.”

Element 25 already concluded a purchase agreement for manganese sulphate with Stellantis at the beginning of the year. It involves a total volume of 45,000 tonnes of manganese sulphate over five years, but a maximum of 10,000 tonnes per year – significantly less than what GM has now secured. (PDF)


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