Volkswagen secures lithium supply from top producer Ganfeng

German carmaker Volkswagen and Chinese top lithium producer Ganfeng have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on long-term lithium supply for battery cells.

The step is a major move in the race to secure raw materials for the electric car (EV) revolution. The automaker is aiming to launch more than 70 new pure EVs during the next decade – that means that over a quarter of its vehicles will be powered by electricity by 2025. Volkswagen is forecasting to have 22 million EVs worldwide by 2028. “We must make sure we cover [raw material] demand [for cell production] at an early stage. Long-term agreements like the one for lithium, a key raw material, that we have just concluded with Ganfeng are therefore of crucial strategic significance for implementing our electric offensive,” said Dr. Stefan Sommer, a group board member for components and procurement at Volkswagen.

Demand for lithium, a key battery metal together with cobalt, graphite and nickel, is set to significantly increase in the coming years. According to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, demand for the metal could surge from 162,752 t in 2017 to 1,570,020 t by 2028. The carmaker said it is interested in lithium extracted from mining for lithium hydroxide, because it is commercially more attractive, more stable to extract, easier to scale and generally more sustainable. Chinese producer Ganfeng has interests in six lithium resources in Australia, Argentina, China and Ireland, but its primary source of lithium raw materials is Mount Marion in Western Australia. The project produced 226,000 wet metric tonnes of spodumene in the first half of the 2019 financial year, up from 221,000 during the same period last year.

Investing News Network, April 5, 2019